While his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates was limited due to injuries, Roberto Pérez made a lasting impression with the team last season. This has at least one Pirate pitcher expressing interest in the team re-signing the veteran catcher.
While the Pittsburgh Pirates were not super active last offseason, one position that saw multiple roster moves be made was catcher. After trading away Gold Glove Award winner Jacob Stallings, the Bucs would then dive into free agency to address the catcher position.
This led to the Pittsburgh Pirates signing veteran Roberto Pérez to a one-year deal for the 2022 season. Unfortunately, Pérez’s time with the Pirates would be cut short after an injury suffered in Cincinnati in early May ended his season.
Shortly after he was injured Pérez expressed to reporters how much he loved Pittsburgh. “I love it here,” Pérez told reporters following his injury. He also stated that he believed he owed the organization another year and expressed interest in returning to Pittsburgh.
Prior to getting injured Pérez was putting together a strong season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The veteran was hitting for a .233/.333/.367 slash line with a 102 wRC+ and a 98 OPS+. He was among the best pitch framers in baseball, to go with a +3 Defensive Runs Saved in 159 innings behind the dish. This gave Pérez a 0.6 WAR, which was putting him on pace for a 3.5-4.0 WAR season.
Well, in addition to Pérez previously expressing interest in returning to the Pirates, it appears the current pitching staff would like to have him back as well. This comes as no surprise seeing that Pérez is a former multi-time Gold Glove Award winner and one of the best catchers in baseball in handling a pitching staff.
On Thursday, JT Brubaker stated at PNC Park on Thursday as part of Ben Cherington meeting with players as part of a holiday part, that “everybody here last year loved Roberto.” Brubaker discussed how much Pérez was able to contribute to the pitching staff, even after he was injured, and stated that he’d like to have him back in 2023. You can read Brubaker’s full quote courtesy of Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette here.
Currently, highly touted prospect Endy Rodriguez is the only catcher on the Pirates 40-man roster. This alone makes adding catching help this offseason a necessity. Hell, with the Rodriguez’s odds of cracking the team’s Opening Day roster being close to 0%, odds are, the Pirates will add at least two veteran catchers between now and Opening Day. It would not be even the least bit surprising if Pérez were one of these catchers.
Entering the offseason a reunion with Pérez was a move that made sense. It was also a move that, if it were to occur, would not surprise anyone. With Pirate pitchers now publicly supporting a reunion with Pérez, a reunion between the two sides would be even less surprising.