The Boston Red Sox signed Martin Perez to join the starting rotation. Another low cost, low-risk signing. What should we know about Perez going into 2020?
The Boston Red Sox are staying busy with their roster moves this offseason. The new Chief Baseball Officer, Chaim Bloom, is making a lot of low costs, short contract deals. Just what the Red Sox need. All things considered, some of these new signings involve a lot of question marks about the future. Newly acquired left-handed pitcher Martin Perez is one of those signings that makes me question, will he be a risk that pays off?
The Red Sox signed Perez to a one-year $6.5 million contract, with a team option for 2021. The former Twins pitcher will likely be replacing Rick Porcello in the starting rotation, in the number five spot.
The 28-year-old pitcher spent eight years in the majors playing as a Texas Ranger and a Minnesota Twin. 2019 was not a great year for Perez as he had a 5.12 ERA and 1.518 WHIP over 165 1/3 innings. He allowed 184 hits, 94 earned runs, and 23 HRs, with 135 strikeouts.
What’s the good news about this signing?
Perez can go the distance. In 3 of the last 4 seasons, he’s played in 32+ games. Add the fact that he’s a lefty which is especially important to note. As BoSox Injection’s Sean Penney points out, there’s optimism around the increased strikeout rate of Perez. After working on his cutter, Perez had a .214 BA for pitchers against him on that pitch.
He’s coachable and learned a lot last season from coach Johan Santana. Working together, he was able to hit the 97mph mark during a few games, altering his pitch stance based on biomechanics to rely more on using his entire body in his pitches.
What’s mediocre about Perez and this signing?
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He utilizes a number of different pitches including using the cutter, sinker, changeup, four-seamer, and curveball. As Sean noted, while he is capable of throwing different pitches, he relieved heavily on his cutter last year. In comparison, the four-seamer and curveball are pitches that are rarely used by Perez.
What’s the bad news about this signing?
Perez struggles against right-handed hitters where he allowed a .293 average for RH batters in 2019. Perez has a career 4.72 ERA, has allowed 486 earned runs, and 104 HRs. His 2020 projections don’t look that great. It’s estimated that he’ll have a 5.18 ERA, be at a .500 W-L%, allowing 84 earned runs, and 22 HRs.
He has encountered a few injuries, including surgery on his right elbow, and in 2017 he missed over two months due to a sore elbow. Perez has shown areas of potential but lacks the consistency to get it done. 2016 was a season that showed a great deal of promise for Perez, however, he hasn’t quite lived up to that.
Overall, the Red Sox want to reduce their salary while gaining pitchers (the area that they’ve struggled with the most). Perez offers depth as an LHP and if he can stay healthy he might work well at the end of the rotation. There are several question marks surrounding Perez and his abilities. I would have rather re-signed Porcello. Based on Porcello’s past, it would have been a safer bet for him to have a good year. In the past, every-down season by Porcello is followed by a very high-quality year.