Spring Training 2011 Mega-Preview: Fernando Perez

 

Fernando Perez is awfully entertaining.  Maybe you've heard he has his own tumblr.  If not, check it out.  Have you seen any of his videos on Youtube?  Check this one out, it's my favorite.  If his name isn't familiar to you, it's because he was one of the other players the Cubs got in the Matt Garza deal, the deal where 2 things were discussed:

 

*We got Matt Garza!  Another good young starter!  How will he pitch for us?

 

*Wow, look at all of the shiny prospects we gave up!  Is that going to burn us?

 

Fernando Perez was a bit of an "add-in" to the deal, to the point where his becoming a Cub might have slipped some people's minds.  So now that we've established that he seems to be a pretty good dude, and that he's on the team - the question remains..

 

What does he bring to the table and what are his chances of making the 25-man?

 

The Cubs usually carry 5 outfielder types on the 25-man roster, and 4 of those spots are taken barring injury by Soriano, Byrd, Fukudome, and Colvin.  The last spot is up for grabs (allegedly) in camp, and Perez is in the running for that gig along with former Cub and fan-favorite Reed Johnson.  I suppose Brad Snyder is an outside shot for that spot, but I've got to assume the Cubs want their 5th OF to be someone who could play CF in a pinch.

 

Once a touted prospect, and now a guy who's going to be 28 in April, Perez spent all of 2010 playing Durham (Tampa's AAA affiliate).  He hit .223 with 4 HR in over 400 plate appearances.  He did steal 24 bases in 31 attempts.  Perez had cups of coffee in 2008 and 2009 with the Rays, and has hit .234 in just under 100 big league PA's.  I'm pretty sure Perez is what he is right now.  He's a very fast guy with a pretty good glove in the OF that can play all 3 OF positions.  Unfortunately it doesn't look like he's ever going to hit much.

So who do I think wins this bench job?  Will it be the fast, defensive guy who can pinch-run (Perez)?  Will it be the gritty veteran who has a track record with the Cubs and is probably the best hitter (Reedo)?  Or will it be the lefty bat with power who could also play a little 1B if needed (Snyder)?  I'm thinking its Reed Johnson.  But whoever it is, lets pray for health for the guys in front of him.

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