At just 23 years of age, Detroit Tigers middle infield prospect Hernan Perez continues to develop into a fine, young baseball player. He is currently slashing .278/.325/.382 with three home runs, 11 stolen bases and 28 RBIs for the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. He is also known for being a good defender at both second base and shortstop. His problem, however, is that the positions he plays may be blocked in Detroit for a long, long time.
Obviously, the Tigers have Ian Kinsler at second base right now. Kinsler is signed through 2017, and he is currently playing some of the best baseball of his career. The Tigers also have another young, talented player in Devon Travis in Double-A, who some have already anointed the second baseman of the future. At shortstop, the Tigers have another young kid named Eugenio Suarez, who has stepped in and performed very well, causing some to wonder what will happen when Jose Iglesias is once again healthy next spring.
Perez has played a tiny bit of third base, but he is not going to be starting there for the Tigers anytime soon with Nick Castellanos manning that position for the foreseeable future. So where exactly does that leave Perez in all of this? Due to the fact that the Tigers clearly have a surplus of middle infielders, their best bet might be to trade Perez for a piece that they could find better use for.
It has recently been rumored that the Tigers could show interest in San Diego Padres closer Huston Street, or perhaps former Tigers reliever Joaquin Benoit, as the trade deadline draws nearer. Although it would most likely take a bit more than Perez to land either of these guys, he might be a player who the Padres could find to be intriguing.
The Padres already have a pretty good second baseman in Jedd Gyorko, who they recently signed to a long-term deal, but perhaps the Padres would view Perez as a possible upgrade over their current shortstop Everth Cabrera. Cabrera has speed and he has stolen as many as 44 bases in a season before, but he is only a lifetime .246 hitter and has already committed 12 errors at shortstop this season. Perez might be able to do a better job.
At any rate, it is hard to see how Perez fits into the long-term picture in Detroit. Although he currently only sports a lifetime .206 batting average from the 68 at-bats he had in the big leagues from 2012-13, his minor league track record shows that he can be much, much better than that. If not San Diego, someone will likely see him as an interesting prospect who they would be willing to trade for.