The Cubs added another utility player to the mix Tuesday afternoon.
According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, the Cubs reached an agreement with free agent Hernan Perez on a minor-league deal and the 28-year-old will have a chance to make the big-league roster out of spring training:
Hernan Perez signs NRI deal with Cubs. Will have chance to make team as utilityman— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 18, 2019
Cubs fans have seen a lot of Perez over the last few years as he has filled in as a utilityman for the Milwaukee Brewers since 2015. He has actually played more games against the Cubs (74) than any other team in baseball over his career (the Pirates are the next closest at 68).
A lot of that is because of the Cubs' plethora of left-handed starting pitchers over the last few years. Perez has seen a lot of playing time against the likes of Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, Jose Quintana and Mike Montgomery.
Perez, a right-handed hitter, has posted a career .259/.290/.368 line (.659 OPS) against the Cubs, but he did some damage in 2019 with 3 homers, 5 RBI and an .815 OPS in 13 games.
He has traditionally been a platoon guy throughout his career, with not-so-great numbers (.243 AVG, .632 OPS) against righties but a solid line against southpaws (.270 AVG, .736 OPS).
Perez has some speed — he stole 34 bases in 2016 and has 69 in his career — and rates as a solid defender all over the field. He's made at least 10 starts at every position but first base, pitcher and catcher.
There's no guarantee for an immediate fit for Perez on the Cubs' roster, but Theo Epstein and Co. are also not at a point where they feel anything is set in stone. A lot could change over the final two months of the offseason and Perez may wind up as a valuable role player. It's a low-risk move that won't break the bank and he gives the roster another dimension with his speed and glovework.
Perez will show up to camp in Arizona in February with a chance to compete against the likes of David Bote, Tony Kemp, Daniel Descalso and Robel Garcia for a utility role as the Cubs try to fit the puzzle pieces together on the new 26-man roster.
Maybe he could also chip in in the bullpen?
Most pitching appearances by a position player (2016-present)— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) December 18, 2019
10 Chris Gimenez
7 Hernán Pérez