The Cincinnati Reds have to evaluate their plans for Jose Peraza based on the off-season moves.
Initially the Cincinnati Reds thought that Jose Peraza would be playing seven positions for them in 2017. There were plans for him to cover all three outfield positions and the middle infield on a regular basis. He was also penciled into the depth chart behind Eugenio Suarez at third and Joey Votto at first.
A lot has change since the end of the season. The first thing that happened is that Brandon Phillips vetoed a deal that would have sent him to the Atlanta Braves. That deal was attempted to get Peraza an opening day position at second base.
That shifted the plan back to Peraza being the super sub. The Reds didn’t have much going on regarding their bench. Ivan DeJesus and Tyler Holt left as free agents released by the Reds. Then Phillips did a 180 and left for Atlanta.
Since then the Reds have reset their bench and their plans for Peraza again. The person initially added to bench was Arismendy Alcantara who the Reds claimed from the Oakland Athletics. He is a speedster who can play outfield and infield just like Peraza. Then the Reds signed Desmond Jennings with the hopes that he will be the back-up center fielder calling Alcantara’s position into question.
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Perhaps more important to limiting the number of positions that Peraza will play is the addition of Ryan Raburn from the Colorado Rockies. He is a slugger of the American League who bats right handed and plays the corner infield and outfield positions.
The Cincinnati Reds have a completely new set of plans for Jose Peraza in 2017, but the focus is still getting him playing time.
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Peraza will now start about half of the games for the Reds at second base this season. He is also the primary back-up shortstop. If Raburn doesn’t make the team, Desmond Jennings or Jesse Winker could play left to allow Adam Duvall to play first and third when needed.
One of the first changes is what is going to happen on the days that Peraza doesn’t start. He will not be the first person off of the bench, if Eugenio Suarez or Raburn is viewed as a capable second baseman. The Reds currently plan on using Raburn as the primary utility player and Jennings as the primary right-handed pinch hitter.
The other immediate plan is that either Jesse Winker or Dilson Herrera get the next chance to join the everyday line-up, if an injury or trade pops up. Herrera and Winker are both on the list, but Herrera tops it because of the situation with Zack Cozart. Unless the trade market collapses, Zack Cozart will be traded by mid-season and Peraza will have his starting shortstop role then.
The other change is that the Reds want to keep Peraza up the middle. He may start at either short or second, but they no longer want him trying the corner infield or outfield positions. They want Peraza ready to be the everyday shortstop as soon as possible.
Peraza will still play in at least 140 games this year. The Reds should be able to figure out if he is the shortstop of the future or not. At worst they know that he can be a reliable, versatile bench piece.