The Red Sox have found their back-of-the-rotation starter. According to Ken Rosenthal, they have signed former Twins lefty Martín Pérez.
Free-agent left-hander Martin Perez in agreement with #RedSox on one-year contract with club option for 2021, source tells The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 13, 2019
The deal will be worth $6 million in 2020 with the 2021 option being for $6.25 million.
Martin Perez deal with #RedSox is one year, $6M with 2021 club option for $6.25M, source says.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 13, 2019
So, uh, yeah. This is what it looks like when you’re more concerned with payroll than talent. Pérez is a former top prospect from the early parts of this decade who has carved out a decently long major-league career, but one without too much in the way of success. The southpaw is coming off a season in which he pitched to a 5.12 ERA (110 ERA-), a 4.66 FIP (101 FIP-) and a 6.32 DRA- (130 DRA-). These numbers more or less track with his career norms, with some fluctuations year-to-year.
The lefty is not a strikeout pitcher, nor is he someone who limits his walks at any extreme level. In 2019, for example, he struck out 18.3 percent of his opponents (his career-high by a wide margin) and walked 9.1 percent. The league averages were 23 and 8.5 percent, respectively. Pérez generally does a good job of keeping the ball on the ground, but he’s also generally allowed BABIPs above .300. Of course, that’s on the defense as well as the pitcher.
If you’re looking for some optimism, he did add a cutter to his repertoire in 2019 that worked pretty well. It turned into his most-used pitch and it got very good results. Hopefully he is confident enough in it to ditch his four-seam, which was a disaster. You can also point to the weak contact as possible bad luck, but you invite that bad luck when you allow so many balls in play.
Maybe this deal will work out and Bloom will look like a genius. Stranger things have happened, I suppose. But the fact is Pérez hasn’t been a good major-league pitcher in at least two years, depending on your definition of good. This is a money-saving move, plain and simple. That’s the Red Sox right now, whether we like it or not.