Red Sox: Martin Perez’s future can be decided in final two starts of 2020

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 13: Martin Perez #54 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning at Tropicana Field on September 13, 2020 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 13: Martin Perez #54 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning at Tropicana Field on September 13, 2020 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) /

Martin Perez can solidify Red Sox career with a strong finish

The Yankees are in town to battle the Red Sox in their final clashes of the 2020 season. Who’s leading the Boston charge you ask? None other than Martin Perez and he’s got plenty on the line tonight. With the number of games left in the season, this will most likely be his second to last start of the campaign. He’s been a revelation for an incredibly damaged pitching staff and very well may have earned himself a job for 2021, but he needs to finish strong.

When the season officially concludes the Red Sox will need to make a decision if they want to bring Perez back for next year as the southpaw signed a one-year deal with a team option for 2021. If I was called up by Chaim Bloom and asked for my honest opinion, I’d not only tell him to activate the option but possibly extend it another year. Martin has totally outperformed what the expectations were for him ahead of this season and I wouldn’t mind seeing him at Fenway for another few years.

Back to reality though as I’m well aware that Bloom won’t be blowing my phone up anytime soon for front office advice. When he was signed by the Red Sox he was going to be the fifth man behind Chris Sale, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Nathan Eovaldi. We all know how the story goes from there as Tommy John, a trade, and COVID-19 destroyed the starting rotation. This would then see Martin promoted from the final man to the second arm on the totem pole behind Eovaldi.

In an interesting turn of events, he’s been the most consistent pitcher that Boston has put on the mound all year. Have there been some hiccups? Of course, it wouldn’t be the 2020 Red Sox without em. When the dust settles on this year, the lefty may have one of the best seasons of his career and will be the definition of a comeback player.

Let’s take a look at his season up to this point, the southpaw has a 4.33 ERA through 52 IP while carrying a 5.14 FIP and 1.327 WHIP. His ERA, FIP, and WHIP are the best he’s posted in a handful of years and it looks like he’s been rejuvenated in Boston. From the moment he was signed he expressed his joy with joining the organization and as the season has progressed he’s embraced the community fully.

“Perez Day,” has become a bit of a holiday this season as every time he’s scheduled to pitch there’s this bit of excitement in the air. It’s not necessarily that he’s going to go out and look like 1999 Pedro Martinez, but he’s gonna get the damn thing done. Perez is a big fan of the support he’s received and has run with the entire “Perez Day,” movement. Before each start, he gives an uplifting message to the fans, and whether the team wins or loses he spreads positivity afterward as well.

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There may be some out there that don’t think Perez should receive his option for 2021, and to those people, you’re wrong. Who else would you rather have in the rotation? The free-agent market for 2021 isn’t the greatest and we have zero ideas of when Sale or E-Rod will return next year. In all actuality, it isn’t just a matter of when they’ll return but what kind of shape they’ll be in.

Bringing back Martin for at least 2021 is just a smart move all around. He’s proven that he can pitch and succeed for this team while being friendly to the budget. His option will only cost the Red Sox $6.25M for 2021 and an extension surely wouldn’t raise the spending by too much. It’s hard to find a guy that will not only perform every fifth day but will also not kill your budget and is beloved by the fans.

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I know throughout this that I’ve spoken about things that are not baseball-related in order to make my argument but those intangibles need to be examined. It isn’t always about what happens on the field and having a great clubhouse guy can mean big things for a club that’s down on their luck. What is for certain is that Martin Perez has excelled for the Red Sox in an otherwise rough year, and his final two starts can decide what’s next for his career.