Hernan Perez could be set up for superutility role

The Tigers have had a superutility player on their roster for the bulk of the last six years, thanks to Don Kelly. They could be setting up Hernan Perez to be the next.

It might be Perez’s best shot to not only stick in the big leagues, but stay in the organization.

Perez has spent the past month with Zulia in the Venezuelan Winter League, but hasn’t played since Nov. 29 after injuring his knee in a collision. He’s expected to return to action this week, but he told Carlos Duarte of the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal that the Tigers want him playing some games in the outfield.

Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski confirmed that request Monday, saying they want Perez to enhance his versatility and help his cause.

“He’s out of [minor-league] options, and we like Hernan a lot,” Dombrowski said, “so we thought it would be [good]. We know he can play second base, shortstop and third base, but we asked if he could take some fly balls to see how he does out there.”

Perez was already working out in the outfield before the injury, Tigers assistant GM Al Avila said. He has not started a game there yet, splitting his time between second and first base. He split most of his regular season at Triple-A Toledo between second and shortstop.

“We figured we would try to increase his flexibility, versatility, because we like Hernan,” Dombrowski said. “With how the club fits, maybe we’ll want him to play some outfield.”

The Tigers have counted on Don Kelly as a backup outfielder for years while also using him at first, second and third base. However, Kelly is a free agent after Detroit dropped him from the roster at season’s end. Both sides are open to a reunion.

If Kelly returns, it could set up a positional battle with Perez and others in which whoever doesn’t win the job has to be designated for assignment and would have to clear waivers before being assigned to Triple-A Toledo.

Kelly, who turns 35 on Feb. 15, is 11 years older than Perez, who will turn 24 in March. Despite the age, Kelly has the advantage of being a left-handed hitter, a trait the Tigers have in short supply on their bench. Perez, once a candidate last spring to fill the shortstop void in Detroit, is a right-handed hitter.

25 Comments

I’d prefer a super-utility competition in ST. bring back the don.

but doesn’t this mean we wouldn’t have a backup SS (suarez) on the team?

Sorry-I misposted this on another thread:
see, the ChiSox pick up Samardzija, Duke, LaRoche, and Roberston. The Yanks get Andrew Miller. The Mariners are going large. The Blue Jays have signed everybody (and then let half of them go).
Meanwhile Detroit coninutes to be sold a bill of goods about being a small market team. Thus their very generous owner has less to work with and we should be thankful for what we have.
Psshaw!
Detroit is the 7th largest market out of 30 basebal teams. Only the behemoths like the Dodgers, Cards, Yanks, Angels, Giants and Red Sox had more attendance last year.
The ChiSox were 28th of 30! Seattle 23rd.
The Jays were in the bottom half at 17th.
Now those guys have very generous owners!.
Let’s dispense with the rhetoric Mr. D and get to work.

Dan I hear ya – and don’t be surprised if big money is thrown at Max in retaliation.

Perez deserves a bigger role than AAA. If there is a trade with infielder then Kelly might come back.

I’d take Perez over Kelly at this point without ever having played an inning in the OF.
Meanwhile our GM is watching the competitgion spend money, get stronger and he is spinning an adequate bullpen and being open to Andy Dirks. Maybe even Matt Joyce?
Wow that’s exciting.

Buster Olney says the Tigers are trying to sign Max. Are you kidding me?

yesterday:
“The Detroit Tigers do not feel like they need to make major improvements to the bullpen this offseason. They believe they already have.” Chris Iott
.
today: pen is now so strong lets sign a starter who can’t pitch past the 7th hardly

The Tigers spend plenty. Most of it is already spent. Not sure what people expect this winter.

you know the bullpen being fixed was expected by most. and it hasn’t been fixed yet.

Peter Gammons is spouting this stuff. He’s been saying this for days because David Price isn’t happy with the Tigers. I speculated very early that he might be having a hard time transitioning to a new team and it came out that he did experience that. But DP came up with that team in Tampa. He also had some issues transitioning to college. He got himself a dog when he was drafted cause he was a little lonely. I think he gets homesick more than disliking the Tigers. He always had his dog with him.

IMHO, Price wants to play in Detroit more than $cherzer. $cherzer is manipulating the fans and some pundits are playing Boras game too.Trading Proice to keep Scherzwer would be the most shortsighted decision by DD ever. It would be worse than signing Fielder

I really don’t want the Tigers to spend for Max. I’d rather get another hitter or BP piece.

I don’t think I can listen much more to MLB. Why is it taking so long to sign Lester? I’m starting to think there’s a conspiracy.

“Fixing the bullpen” isn’t as easy as taking a hammer and a few nails to it. Those top notch relievers are getting 4 yrs at $40 mil or so, and there’s no guarantee they’ll be successful. The bullpen is the most unpredictable aspect in all of baseball.

while some of those top notch relievers are as bad a ripoff as Mr. $cherzer – that shouldn’t suggest there wasn’t many solid relievers DD is and will pass on…because he believes the addition of Soria has fixed the pen

Hernan Perez will play 3B tonight

Let us know how he performed, El Tigre. He looked good at 2nd base when he played there, but Castellanos & Perez at 3rd base is asking a bit much.

I will, as I mentioned he has struggled with his bat but he is playing at the most pitcher friendly stadium in Venezuela.

Suarez is playing his best here. High OBP,also high slg but the later is misleading nowdays here. The ball is flying a little too much.

the problem with Perez as a utility guy….is he isn’t better defensively at many positions than the regular starter. Don Kelly would come in every day as a defensive replacement, and he was also a Lefty. Perez won’t get you either of those things.

Don Kelly is gone. He was never a good player. It is time to give the job to someone else. His running blunder was a factor in the last game

are you saying Perez is a good player – or that his running game is superior to don kelly’s?

I agree with ET on this. I would add, however, that Don Kelly was a good Tiger and a pretty decent ballplayer. His worth to the team was probably more valuable in the sense of salary relief than anything else though.
He may have been a better choice than Steve Lombardozzi but Hernan Perez is head and shoulders a better middle infielder. Probably a better 3Bman and , understanding DK’s age and background, quite likely a better emergency outfielder.
DK is simply too old for the job. It hapens, for crying out loud it even happend to # 6.
We know the bullpen (even though we are being lead to believe otherwise) is a disaster area. We also know that our bench was about as weak as one could be. Don Kelly, Doc Holaday, Romine and, quite likely, Collins would be as much as a disaster as the current bullpen which is being ignored by DD.

Jason twitted :Dombrowski on Scherzer report: “I don’t know where he got that from. That’s not accurate. I know it didn’t come from this room.”

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