Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Inbox: Can Peraza follow in Cozart's footsteps?

Beat reporter Mark Sheldon answers fans' questions
MLB.com @m_sheldon

I don't think that Jose Peraza is ready to fill half of the job left vacant by Zack Cozart. Is he the only candidate for that job?
-- Fernando A., Panama

To be the starting shortstop when the season opens, probably. I think people forget that Peraza doesn't even turn 24 until April 30. He's still very young with a lot of room to reach his potential. Peraza definitely underperformed at the plate in the first half as the starting second baseman, losing his job to Scooter Gennett. But when he filled in for an injured Cozart at times in the second half, Peraza seemed to do a better job at being more selective at the plate, drawing more walks and making better contact. Defensively, he has the range, and I think he will get better with more repetition. Whether he can be as good as Cozart with the glove, I don't know, but Eugenio Suarez wasn't too strong defensively and worked his way into being very good. I don't see why someone equally hard working like Peraza can't do the same.

I don't think that Jose Peraza is ready to fill half of the job left vacant by Zack Cozart. Is he the only candidate for that job?
-- Fernando A., Panama

To be the starting shortstop when the season opens, probably. I think people forget that Peraza doesn't even turn 24 until April 30. He's still very young with a lot of room to reach his potential. Peraza definitely underperformed at the plate in the first half as the starting second baseman, losing his job to Scooter Gennett. But when he filled in for an injured Cozart at times in the second half, Peraza seemed to do a better job at being more selective at the plate, drawing more walks and making better contact. Defensively, he has the range, and I think he will get better with more repetition. Whether he can be as good as Cozart with the glove, I don't know, but Eugenio Suarez wasn't too strong defensively and worked his way into being very good. I don't see why someone equally hard working like Peraza can't do the same.

:: Submit a question to the Reds Inbox ::

Peraza doesn't have the luxury to not get the job done. If and when top prospect Nick Senzel is considered ready for the big leagues, he will need a place to play. One of the positions Senzel can play is shortstop.

Video: PIT@CIN: Peraza's diving stop robs McCutchen of a hit

When do the Reds make an acquisition that sends a sign that they are ready to begin competing? I remember the Cubs signed Jon Lester a year or two before they were ready. I am disappointed that this isn't a part of their agenda this offseason. I'm not suggesting throwing the plan in the trash, but Lance Lynn to a five-year contract clearly sends a message.
-- Tracy B., Silver Grove, Ky.

First, the Cubs signed Lester before the 2015 season, when they definitely were ready to contend, won 97 games and went deep into the playoffs. Second, signing free-agent starting pitchers means overspending, and while maybe someone like Lynn would help the Reds to some degree, would he get them 30 more wins? The Reds won 68 games last season and would probably need 95-100 wins to win the National League Central. One signing like Lynn wouldn't help enough. They'd need to sign five Lance Lynns. That's cost prohibitive, and the young arms they already have are in better position to grow into good, strong starters rather than overpay to get someone who might not and be stuck carrying a bad contract.

Video: Reds may seek inning-eating, free-agent starter

What in the world do we think we're doing by trading away all of our star athletes? It's obvious you can't win ballgames when you don't keep the good players. We've gotten rid of Cozart, [Aroldis] Chapman, [Jay] Bruce, [Mike] Leake, [Johnny] Cueto. For whom may I ask? A bunch of Minor Leaguers.
-- Hunter A., Covington, Ohio

If the Reds had kept all of those players until they were out of club control, they would have gotten nothing back for them. They couldn't re-sign them as free agents as a small-market club, so they made deals to rebuild. Some of the return were Minor Leaguers and lesser-known guys. Here are some of them that came back: Adam Duvall (for Leake), Suarez (for Alfredo Simon), Anthony DeSclafani (for Mat Latos), Luis Castillo (for Dan Straily), Peraza and Scott Schebler (for Todd Frazier) and Brandon Finnegan and Cody Reed (for Cueto). The jury is still out on Finnegan and Reed, while the third lefty of that deal -- John Lamb -- was a bust. The return on Bruce -- Dilson Herrera -- is still a question mark because he has been hurt. The only trade that flat-out didn't work was Chapman, and that deal was done when his value was at its lowest because of a domestic violence situation. There are no guarantees of success in any trade, but the Reds have done pretty well and expect some of these guys to be the cornerstones when they contend again.

Video: Zinkie names Castillo as top fantasy rookie pitcher

Given the success of both the Astros and the Dodgers in using players at more than one position to provide lineup flexibility, will the Reds use a similar approach in 2018? Thinking of Suarez, Duvall, Gennett and Peraza, along with [Patrick] Kivlehan and others on bench.
-- Ron, Coloma, Mich.

I think that manager Bryan Price would be happy to do that, and he has at times. Gennett played four positions before winning the job outright at second base in July. Suarez could play shortstop in the later innings or get an occasional start. Peraza has played shortstop, second base and center field already. Senzel, the club's top prospect, is normally a third baseman but is already learning how to play the outfield and will add shortstop and second base to his pro resume this season.

Video: BOS@CIN: Suarez makes a diving stop on Moreland

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds