Hernan Perez- 28 years old
This one might be a bit of a drop in terms of defensive value at shortstop, but Perez isn’t a terrible overall defender and plays every single position on the field, except for catcher. He even has seven appearances on the mound. I don’t know if he has Dr. Poo Poo like abilities on the mound, but you can’t get any more versatile than Perez.
After Iglesias and Hechavarria, there aren’t many options at the price point the Orioles are looking at. Logan Forsythe hits right-handed pitching well and could platoon with Hanser Alberto, but can he play enough at shortstop? Sean Rodriguez is a much older option (35) and can play multiple positions. While his defense rated a little better with former Orioles coach Bobby Dickerson teaching him, it’s still at or below league average.
Perez doesn’t hit right-handed pitching very well, and didn’t hit much of anything last season, but his ability to play multiple positions is something that attracted Mike Elias to a number of small free agents and waiver claims since joining the Orioles last offseason.
Perez played sparingly with the Detroit Tigers from 2012-2015 before being designated for assignment and claimed by the Milwaukee Brewers. He finished the ’15 season with a .270 average and became a regular in the Brewers lineup and a fan favorite over the next three years.
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Despite posting a wRC+ of 62 and a -0.2 fWAR in 2019, Perez recorded a career-high 3.7 Defensive Rating, according to Fangraphs. The majority of his time came at shortstop and second base where he was right at league average as a shortstop and just slightly above league average at second (3 DRS, 0.8 UZR).
I don’t think Perez is a serious option at all, but I’m interested to see if someone takes a shot with him this offseason.
We didn’t comb through the minor league free agent options yet, something Mike Elias surely won’t skip over, but if he’s going to be in need of a starting shortstop, he should probably be aggressive in pursuing an Iglesias or Hechavarria type option. They won’t be mainstays in two-three years, but they will do for now.