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The Cubs should claim Hernan Perez on waivers

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It’s a chance to be helped out by, of all people, the Brewers.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

News item from last Friday:

Well, this seemed odd. Hernan Perez isn’t a great player. He doesn’t hit much; his career slash line of .254/.284/.387 gives him an OPS+ of 76. But he was a 1.0 to 2.0 bWAR player before this season, a useful utility player who could play pretty much every position on the field. He’s even made six garbage-time pitching appearances for the Brewers over the last three seasons.

So why did the Brewers do this? Defense, they claim; the article says they’re disappointed with Orlando Arcia at shortstop and Tyler Saladino would take over at short, at least for now, for the Brewers. That’s a weird move on the face of it: Saladino is almost two years older than Perez and five years older than Arcia, hits about as well and at best, the way I see it, is about Arcia’s equal defensively.

But then there’s this:

It was no secret Pérez was a leader in the clubhouse, and not just with the team’s large and active group of Latin players. The Venezuelan native was respected throughout the team for his professionalism and being a good teammate who put winning above individual interests.

It’s no secret that the Cubs miss the leadership and professionalism of Ben Zobrist, who might or might not come back this year. Perez could provide some of that leadership, which was something Daniel Descalso was supposedly signed to do. The problem is that Descalso can’t hit, at all, nor can he really play anywhere but second base or third base. Perez could back up Javier Baez at shortstop in addition to playing second or third or any of the outfield positions.

My first thought about Perez is that he’d been a pest to the Cubs while in Milwaukee, but that turns out not to be true, at least not numbers-wise. His lifetime stats vs. the Cubs are pretty much in line with his career stats: .263/.298/.366 (54-for-205) with five home runs. Four of those homers have come at Wrigley Field, where he’s been a bit better hitter over his career: .287/.311/.406 (29-for-101).

Perez has been around for a while (MLB debut in 2012), but he’s only 28 and is making $2.5 million this year, so he’d be owed $1.25 million if the Cubs claim him. Obviously the Cubs would have to stand in line behind other teams with worse records who could claim him first, but if he’s available when the Cubs come up in waiver-claim order, I think they should grab him.

Now, since he’s under DFA rules, the Brewers could pull him back from waivers (they probably wouldn’t, having already moved on to someone else) or hold out for a trade instead of just letting the Cubs have him. He’d be worth a couple of A-ball lottery tickets in trade if that were necessary, I think. He’d certainly be better than Descalso, who since May 17 is hitting .091/.242/.127 (5-for-55). I mean... that’s a .369 OPS. Perez has nearly doubled that at .659 this season.

Beyond that, the Cubs now have two open 40-man roster spots because of this:

Tony Barnette is now on the restricted list. The Cubs might open another 40-man spot if they put Xavier Cedeno on the 60-day injured list.

Besides, wouldn’t it be sweet to see a former Brewer help the Cubs defeat them?

This is a no-brainer move, in my opinion. What say you?

Poll

The Cubs should claim Hernan Perez on waivers...

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    Yes
    (407 votes)
  • 35%
    No
    (228 votes)
635 votes total Vote Now