Before the Red Sox traded Andrew Benintendi, or even before they signed Garrett Richards and Enrique Hernández, they had reportedly agreed to terms with Martín Pérez. This was back in the middle of January, almost a full month ago at this point. For unknown reasons, the deal never became official, until today. The team announced the signing Friday afternoon, with Chris Mazza being designated for assignment in order to make room on the 40-man.
The #RedSox today signed left-handed pitcher Martín Pérez to a one-year contract for the 2021 season, with a club option for 2022.— Red Sox (@RedSox) February 12, 2021
To make room on the 40-man roster, the club designated right-handed pitcher Chris Mazza for assignment.
Pérez had agreed to a one-year deal worth $4.5 million. The southpaw will be spending his second season in Boston after being miscast atop their rotation in 2020. In that role, he was steadier than the rest of the rotation by a long shot, but was still more average than good. Over 12 starts and 62 innings, Pérez pitched to a 4.50 ERA with 46 strikeouts and 28 walks. This season he should be in a role much better suited for his skillset, presumably starting the season in the fourth spot in the rotation, barring injury.
In order to make room, the Red Sox designated Chris Mazza, which comes as a bit of a surprise. The former Met was up and down as rotation depth last summer, making six starts and three relief appearances totaling 30 innings in which he pitched to a 4.80 ERA with 29 strikeout and 15 walks. He was expected to fill a similar role this year, starting the year in Triple-A. He was certainly on the fringier side of the 40-man, but I still would have expected both Jeffrey Springs and Marcus Walden to be ahead of him on the list.
That they’ve designated Mazza as well as Joel Payamps, who did not clear waivers and is now with the Blue Jays, shows that the Red Sox are confident in their rotation depth. Right now, that includes Matt Andriese and Garrett Whitlock on the major-league roster as well as Tanner Houck, and eventually Bryan Mata and Connor Seabold. Mazza could, of course, clear waivers, but I’d be surprised if he does while Payamps did not.
With this move, the Red Sox still have two 40-man spots to clear for Hirokazu Sawamura and Marwin Gonzalez. It’s likely one will be opened by placing Chris Sale on the 60-day injured list, but that still means at least one more player currently on the roster will need to be removed one way or another, and possibly more if there is another addition coming.