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Peraza: A man without a position (yet)

CINCINNATI — Jose Peraza is the player the Cincinnati Reds obtained from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Todd Frazier trade, with thoughts of inserting him immediately at second base.

That’s because the Reds thought they could trade Brandon Phillips, that certainly Phillips would accept a trade to the Washington Nationals, where he could play for manager Dusty Baker and play for a team with a chance to make it to the World Series.

They were wrong. Phillips invoked his 10-and-5 rights (10 years in the majors, the last five with the same team) and blocked the trade.

So Phillips remains with the Reds, occupying second base, while the 22-year-old Peraza floats between Class AAA Louisville and the Reds.

AMD WHILE HE IS with the Reds he bounces around on the field — center field, second base, shortstop, left field — any spot manager Bryan Price can find to stick him into the lineup.

He is back in Cincinnati now and for the first time in his professional career he played left field twice. The first time he played out there was the first time in his professional career he patrolled left field.

When Price was asked about the risk he took by playing Peraza in left field with no experience, Price laughed and said, “What do you mean he hasn’t played left field? He played left field one game in spring training.”

For Peraza, a gifted athlete, that may be enough because he is a Natural-Born Baseball Player, no matter where one sticks him.

Peraza was in left field only because first baseman Joey Votto was sick and left fielder
Adam Duvall played a couple of games at first base.

SO NOW THAT VOTTO is back and all position players are healthy, can Price find enough playing time for Peraza?

“I’m not confident there is enough at bats for him to be up here for the rest of the year,” said Price. “For the time being I know he helps our team in a number of different ways. If the at bats dry up, if he can’t get enough at bats, if I can’t find him time in the lineup enough to keep him sharp and allow him to continue to develop, it doesn’t make a great deal of sense to keep him here the rest of the season.”

Price paused for effect and added, “That being said, you never know what is going to happen. I’ll move him around a little bit and for the time being. He’ll be a guy who mixes in and gets some starts, pinch-hits, pinch-runs and comes off the bench to do some stuff for us.

“If there comes a time when he is not getting enough playing time we’d have to look at him getting some regular playing time at Triple-A,” Price added.

AS FOR BEING A Man For All Positions, Price said of Peraza, “He is an athlete and finds a way to get to the ball. It’s like anything else, the more time he plays a position the better he’ll be at that position. There are certain nuances to every position. He’ll learn them. He is an athlete. Certainly we didn’t trade for him to be a left fielder, but if there are times when that spot is open and available, that’s where he will play.”

Price said he hasn’t seen enough of Peraza to say what position is his best, but he did say, “I’d like to have that opportunity to see where he is best, but I also don’t want anything to happen to the guys who are playing those everyday positions. I do think that eventually he is going to wedge his way into our environment someplace and somehow. He is really a nice player and does a lot of things that will help our club. We won’t be talking about this next year.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Mark DeRosa on MLB Network — “People have to be asking, ‘Who is Adam Duvall?’ Adam Duvall, 21 home runs. Do you think he is sleeping well these days?”

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