I have always liked Jonathan Herrera. I can’t really put my finger on why, because he doesn’t bring anything extra special at the plate, on the basepaths, or in the field. He’s an okay hitter, an okay second baseman. He’s not fast. I think it’s safe to say he “hustles,” but if you’re not fast, you’d better hustle. So what is it about Herrera? Why can’t I quit him, and why can’t the Rockies?
I think it’s this: Herrera just shows up every day. If it’s a bench day, he sits on the bench. If he’s called on to pinch-hit or replace someone in the field, he does that. He knows his role and he plays it well. He “stays within himself.” With the Rockies’ pitching situation as messy as it is, and the fact that so many of our supposed superstars are injuring themselves and then making up stories about how they’ll “be back in August,” Herrera’s consistency is an asset. He does exactly what a utility guy is supposed to do: be useful.
That said, he’s hit his ceiling and that is incontestable. Playing every day is not an option for him, and the team can’t be built around him. So by avoiding arbitration for the 2013 season, the Rockies have simply put their faith in Herrera’s ability to put on a uniform and do whatever he’s told to do on a given day. The length of the deal – one year – is the their concession to the fact that they’re only keeping Herrera around until someone better comes along. Maybe DJ LeMahieu has the breakout year I think we can expect soon, or maybe one of the non-roster invitees does something amazing in spring training. Regardless, Herrera will continue to do what he does as long as we need him to do it, and then he’ll retire or go do it for someone else.
Perhaps my favorite thing about Herrera isn’t anything he does as a player. It’s that, as a hitter, he resembles a guy I’ve never heard of named Creepy Crespi. Click on the link. The man was aptly named.
Where will Herrera be in 2013? Part of the merry-go-round at 2nd base with occasional pinch-hit appearances.
Where should Herrera be in 2013? Filling infield holes as often as necessary, but hopefully no more often than that.