Stop me if you have heard this before. Yadiel Hernandez hit, and hit, and hit some more. Hernandez forced his way on the roster because he hasn’t stopped hitting since Juan Soto went to the Injured List. Hernan Perez got a hit on Opening Day, then failed to do so in his sixteen at-bats since. With Soto coming off the IL there had to be a roster casualty, and Perez got the axe.
When Perez was signed to a minor league contract in the offseason, he was brought in to replace Brock Holt. General manager Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Martinez love players who bring versatility to the table. Perez can play any position on the field, including pitcher.
The Nationals have designated utility infielder Hernan Perez for assignment, ending his short tenure with the team.
Forced into action from day one as several Nationals entered COVID protocols, Perez was the Opening Day second baseman. He had a base knock and scored a run, and moved to first base late in the game, showing his value to the team by being able to play multiple positions.
Over the next three weeks Perez would appear in games in the outfield, infield, and twice as a pitcher. Remarkably, he would pitch two innings without giving up a run in mop up duty.
Perez offered the same skillset as Jordy Mercer, and both were little used over the past couple of weeks. In 22 at-bats Mercer has seven hits, including a rocket off his bat against the Marlins which went for extra bases.
Perez has struck out in more than half of his at-bats, Mercer has made the u-turn in less than a fourth of his. Why the Nationals carried Perez this long is a head scratcher. Aside from his versatility, he offered little in the form of offensive production. While Mercer doesn’t have a stellar career OPS (.702), it’s better than that of Perez (.662).
With a healthy Soto, finding playing time for Hernandez may be difficult. Andrew Stevenson joins the fray putting five outfielders on the roster. Hernandez was able to hit his way on the roster, while Perez failed to hit, period. He now enters DFA limbo, where he could clear waivers and be sent to Triple-A, or released outright.