The Boston Red Sox apparently are putting the finishing touches on another low-cost veteran.
The Red Sox and free-agent starting pitcher Martin Perez have come to terms on a one-year deal, according to multiple reports. According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Perez’s contract also has a club option for 2021. Perez is slated to make $6 million in 2020 and would receive a modest bump to $6.25 million if Boston picked up the option, per Rosenthal.
Earlier in his career, Perez was a pretty interesting prospect. He finished sixth in American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2013 when he went 10-6 with a 3.62 ERA with the Texas Rangers. After battling injuries in 2014 and 2015, Perez has more or less settled into a role as an innings eater. He logged an average of 159 innings per season over the last four years, and that includes 2018 — his final season in Texas — where he made just 15 starts.
Perez signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Twins this past January, and the best thing you can say about his season as a whole was that he took the ball a lot. Perez appeared in 32 games (29 starts) and logged 165 1/3 innings. His 1.518 WHIP was his lowest in three seasons, and while he did post an unsightly 5.12 ERA, his 4.66 FIP suggests there might have been some bad luck. Minnesota did have one of the worst defenses in baseball last season. Then again, so did the Red Sox, so perhaps that will be a point of emphasis this offseason.
Interestingly, Perez had more success on the road last season, despite Target Field’s park factors either being pretty neutral or bordering on favoring pitchers. Perez gave up roughly 1.5 home runs per nine innings in Minneapolis last season, while giving up about a homer per nine innings on the road. There’s some cause for concern as he now shifts to Fenway Park, which typically has been a tough park to pitch in, especially for left-handers … and especially for left-handers like Perez, who don’t strike out a ton of batters.
The 28-year-old only struck out 7.3 batters per nine innings last season, although that was a considerable jump from the 5.5 strikeouts per nine innings rate he boasted in his first seven seasons. The Red Sox probably are hoping Perez figured something out in his one year with the analytically driven Twins that helped spike that K rate and it’s not just the result of a dramatic increase in strikeouts across baseball.
Perez undoubtedly will get a chance to compete for a spot in the rotation, especially with former Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello reportedly joining the New York Mets and with David Price’s name coming up in trade rumors.
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