Perez, Rosscup round out Garza deal for Cubs
While the big catch for the Cubs in their trade with the Rays was obviously Matt Garza, they also got Fernando Perez and Zachary Rosscup in the deal. Here's some more information on the speedy outfielder and the left-handed pitcher:
Perez, 27, was drafted by the Rays in the seventh round of the 2004 Draft out of Columbia University. He immediately showed that his best tool was his speed, stealing 57 bases in his first full season, back in the Midwest League in 2005. He moved up one rung at a time the next three years, never swiping fewer than 32 bags in a season. He stole 43 in 2008 while playing for Triple-A Durham and earned his first callup to the big leagues.
He got a lot of playing time that September, hitting .250 and going a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen-base attempts. His game-changing speed along with his overall plus defensive ability got him added to the postseason roster, where he picked up nine at-bats as the Rays went to their first World Series. Tampa Bay fans will forever remember Perez's dash to the plate on B.J. Upton's short sacrifice fly to right field in the 11th inning of Game 2 of the American League Championship Series against the Red Sox.
Since that shining moment, Perez has struggled with injuries, missing most of the 2009 season with a dislocated left wrist, though he did return to the Rays late in the year. The wrist continued to bother him in 2010, limiting him to 116 games with Durham. While he hit just .223, he did still steal 24 bases in 31 attempts.
That's likely what the Cubs will look for from Perez: speed and defense. An offseason of rest should help him in terms of health, and he could provide a nice boost as a fourth or fifth outfielder who can play all three outfield positions as well as be a pinch-running threat off the bench.
Rosscup, 22, was selected by the Rays in the 28th round of the 2009 Draft out of Chemeketa Community College in Oregon. He made his debut in the rookie level Appalachian League that summer, posting a 2.68 ERA over 40 1/3 innings. The left-hander didn't start 2010 until early July, and after three strong outings in the Gulf Coast League he was moved to short-season Hudson Valley. He threw well there, posting a 3.03 ERA over nine games (seven starts) spanning 35 2/3 innings. He struck out nearly a batter per inning, and held hitters to a .205 bating average, pitching very well down the stretch.
At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Rosscup has decent size and throws four pitches: fastball, curve, slider and changeup. His fastball grades out as average and he'll show flashes of slightly better secondary stuff. He doesn't hurt himself with walks, giving up just 15 in 84 2/3 innings for a 1.6 BB/9 ratio. Had he stayed with the Rays, he likely would have been moved into a bullpen role as he moved up to the full-season Midwest League, so it wouldn't be surprising to see the Cubs have him pitch in relief for Peoria in 2011.