People describe Jonathan Herrera like they describe hard-working white players in the NBA. He “always hustles,” “works hard,” “plays the game the right way,” “has good fundamentals,” “is like a coach on the field,” etc. If it was possible for Major League Baseball players to have a “high motor,” I think that would describe Herrera too.
Today the Rockies signed Herrera to a one year, $900,000 deal. This deal could serve as a great way to explain the arbitration process. Herrera wanted $1 million. The Rockies wanted to pay him $800,000. Their options, then, were to either split the difference or make an arbiter choose between the two figures. For a math-challenged English major like myself, I appreciate a case like this because I get it. 100%.
Jonathan Herrera was never meant to be an everyday player on the Major League level. Not even in small bursts, and not even just to fill in for a short period of time. His limited but solid skills set embodies what it means to be a utility player. I am happy when I see Herrera in situational appearances: a sacrifice bunt, a pinch hitting appearance where the ball must be put in play, or as a late defensive replacement. I am not happy when I see him in his 4th at-bat of a game. There is a place for Herrera if the Rockies use him correctly. They have asked too much of him in the past, but with the emergence of a handful of young infielders this past season, Herrera should be able to settle into the utility role where he belongs.
Just remember one other thing about him, though: he’s not fast. You can keep trying to convince yourself that he is, but he’s just not.