posted on Apr, 5 2004 @ 12:27 PM
Antonio Perez once was considered the top shortstop prospect in baseball, while Jason Romano once was regarded as the premier second baseman in the
minors. But neither's career has panned out as expected, and they were traded for each other. Perez went to the Dodgers, with Romano going to the
Perez, 24, signed out of the Dominican Republic with the Reds in 1998. He previously has been involved in trades for Ken Griffey Jr. in February 2000
and for Randy Winn in October 2002. Wrist injuries hampered Perez in 2001 and 2002, but he was healthy and made his big league debut last year,
hitting .248/.360/.345 with two homers and 12 RBI in 48 games. He also spent time at Double-A Orlando and Triple-A Durham, batting a combined
.279/.377/.498 with eight homers and 30 RBI in 58 contests. Perez still has the tools to be a good player. He has above-average pop for a middle
infielder, plus speed and the arm and hands to play second base or shortstop. He needs to make more contact and stay healthy to reach his potential.
Perez has played most of the time at second base the last two years, but the Dodgers may give him a look at shortstop as they look to beef up their
middle-infield offense. He'll begin the season in Triple-A Las Vegas.
Romano, 24, is a Tampa native who signed with the Rangers out of high school as a 1997 supplemental first-round pick. He also is no stranger to
trades, having been included in deals for Todd Hollandworth in July 2002 and Luke Allen in January 2003. Once compared to Craig Biggio, Romano now is
primarily an outfielder who sees occasional time in the infield. He has hit .205/.250/.252 with no homers, five RBI and eight steals in 84 big league
games and 127 at-bats the last two years. He spent most of 2003 on the Los Angeles bench, and also hit .306/.336/.486 with four homers, 23 RBI and 10
steals in 57 games at Las Vegas. Romano is a scrappy, versatile player whose best tool is his speed. He has taken well to the outfield, but projects
as a bench player and not as a regular because he has below-average pop and only decent on-base ability. Romano led the Dodgers in the triple-crown
categories (.379-5-14), steals (five) and slugging (.724) this spring and will open the season as utilityman for the Devil Rays, but Perez has
considerably more upside.