Red Sox Breaking News: Martín Pérez has been removed from the rotation

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - AUGUST 05: Martin Perez #54 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch against the Detroit Tigers during the bottom of the first inning at Comerica Park on August 05, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - AUGUST 05: Martin Perez #54 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch against the Detroit Tigers during the bottom of the first inning at Comerica Park on August 05, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

Red Sox lefty Martín Pérez has been moved to the bullpen

In a move that felt pretty inevitable, especially after yesterday’s disastrous start, Red Sox skipper Alex Cora announced today that Martín Pérez has been removed from the starting rotation. The left-hander will now take up residence in Boston’s bullpen as a relief option for the manager. I’d like to say that this came as a surprise, but I think we were all expecting a move like this for a while.

Before his start yesterday I wrote that Pérez absolutely couldn’t afford another poor outing, and unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. The lefty barely got out of the gates and was yanked by AC after just 1.1 innings of work.

Despite only being on the mound for a cup of coffee, Pérez gave up five hits and three earned while striking out just a pair. Not the kind of performance he needed to prove to the Red Sox that he can get the job done in the starting rotation.

"“We actually talked to Martin today and he’s going to the bullpen,” Cora said. “It’s something because of where we’re at and the people we are adding in the upcoming days, it just makes sense.”"

Martín became a quick fan favorite after joining the club in 2020 and that fan emotion carried over to this year. I have never shied away from my fandom of the southpaw as his personality is infectious and you can’t help but like the guy.

The problem is, his pitching has rarely lived up to his character and he’s more often than not been beaten up by the opposition. This is one of those cases where you have to separate the art from the artist. As a guy, he’s great, as a pitcher not so much.

Moving him to the bullpen is a smart move as it gives Cora some wiggle room by adding another arm that can come in for long relief if necessary. Garrett Whitlock and more recently Phillips Valdez have proven themselves in this type of scenario and not it’s Martín’s turn.

He’s a guy that can have a few good innings but as we’ve seen with his starts, once the rotation sees him more than once he’s a sitting duck on the mound. Low leverage appearances out of the bullpen mixed with the occasional long outing could be the perfect mix for him.

Oddly enough he’s a leader in the American League with 22 starts but only carries a 7-8 record. In his 100 innings this season he owns a 4.77 ERA, 4.90 FIP, 1.520 WHIP, and a depressing 10.7 H/9. He just couldn’t get it done and he simply ran out of chances after yesterday.

As I said though, a trip to the bullpen could revitalize him and give him a new purpose. We very well could see a guy with a new goal and life come out when called upon and absolutely crush it. Or at least I hope so.

"“Most likely,” Cora said when asked if Houck will take Pérez’s next turn in the rotation."

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To fill the newly vacant spot in the starting rotation the Red Sox will most likely be turning to Tanner Houck in another unsurprising move. Houck and fellow slider expert Chris Sale have been knocking on the door of the starting rotation and today was the first step in that direction. Tanner has been compared to Sale for quite a while now so it’ll be pretty fun to see the two working together as we head toward October.

Houck made his debut last season and was dominant going 3-0 with a 0.53 ERA in 17.0 IP. He also carried an insane 0.882 WHIP with an 11.1 K/9. His 2021 has gone a bit different having an 0-2 record, 2.45 ERA, and 1.091 WHIP in 22 IP. He has improved in both his BB/9 (4.8 to 2.0) and K/9 (11.1 to 12.3) though, which I’ll gladly take. Even if he’s more of the 2021 pitcher than 2020 he’s going to be an instant improvement over what Pérez has done in the starting rotation.

Red Sox v. Blue Jays Betting Preview, August 6th. dark. Next

I don’t think anyone is surprised to see the Red Sox move Martín Pérez to the bullpen though I’m sure some would rather see him gone altogether. I believe that he can be revitalized in a relief effort and if that still doesn’t work, then some of you will get your wish. While I’ll always be a fan of Martín as a person, it was getting really difficult to defend his starts and it was finally time to make a move. Hopefully, both Pérez and Houck strive in their new roles as the Red Sox charge toward October.