Behind Phillips, Herrera awaits chance at 2B

Reds vet has year left on deal, full no-trade clause; Peraza in limbo at SS

Behind Phillips, Herrera awaits chance at 2B

CINCINNATI -- When the Reds traded Jay Bruce to the Mets in a deal that brought Dilson Herrera on Aug. 1, they believed they got their second baseman of the future. When exactly that future arrives for Herrera to get his chance remains unknown for now.

That's a somewhat sticky situation because the Reds still have Brandon Phillips at second base for potentially one more year. Phillips will earn $14 million in the final year of his contract and has full no-trade protection.

"I don't really know," Herrera said during Redsfest when asked about when his chance might come. "I will do my best. Everybody wants an opportunity to be in the big leagues. I can't control the rest."

One day, sooner or later, the Reds could have a lasting middle-infield combo of Herrera and Jose Peraza. The shortstop situation is also in limbo as veteran Zack Cozart is also under club control for one more season before free agency. If Cozart and Phillips aren't traded, they will likely open 2017 as the main double-play duo.

Reds shift focus to future

A native of Colombia who will turn 23 on March 3, Herrera has a career slashline of .298/.362/.468 in six Minor League seasons and is viewed to have plenty of ceiling room for growth. During limited big league time with the Mets in 2014-15, he batted .215 over 49 games.

Herrera spent all of last season at Triple-A, including 17 games with Louisville after the trade, and hit 15 homers overall. Reds manager Bryan Price was looking forward to getting a look at him during Spring Training.

"Very much so because I know we were excited to get him," Price said. "I think he's a strong, offensive second baseman who defends well. He's 22 years old. So to have a couple of young 22, 23-year-olds over the course of the 2017 season that could potentially be playing with some regularity is exciting, because we've talked about the rebuild. And the rebuild is being able to feel like we can go out there and compete for postseason and championships moving forward. And in order to do that, you have to define who is going to be there during that stretch of time and who isn't."

While Peraza is expected to be on the Opening Day roster and play regularly in some fashion, Price didn't plan on having Herrera sit on the bench.

"I don't think that's going to help his progress at all," Price said. "I think between Dilson and Jose, they're in a little bit different spot going into Spring Training."

Price on Peraza's role

Herrera liked working with Peraza during the limited time they spent together at Louisville.

"He's a good player," Herrera said. "I feel comfortable with him. He's a young guy too and he knows how to play baseball."

Herrera missed some games late last season because of a right shoulder injury caused by sleeping awkwardly on a team bus. The Reds opted not to make him a September callup so he could fully recover. He feels 100 percent again and has been doing his offseason workouts.

Despite the short time with his new organization, Herrera got a good vibe that has him optimistic.

"I was feeling great with the people," he said. "I was feeling excited with a new team, new friends, new teammates."

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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.