Martín Pérez set for Grapefruit League debut, ready to bounce back in 2024

The second of the Pirates two left-handed starting pitching offseason acquisitions is set for their Grapefruit League debut

Pittsburgh Pirates Photo Day
Pittsburgh Pirates Photo Day / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages
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Veteran lefty Martín Pérez is set to make his Grapefruit League debut with the Pirates, in hopes of this outing being a springboard for a bounce back season

This past offseason, the Pittsburgh Pirates made two noteworthy additions to their starting rotations. Both of these additions were veteran left-handed pitchers. These additions came when they acquired Marco Gonzales via trade, and when they signed Martín Pérez to a 1-year contract.

Gonzales has made his Grapefruit League debut with the Pirates. Unfortunately, it did not go well as Gonzales allowed 3 runs on 6 hits, a walk, hit a batter, and struck out a pair in 1.2 innings pitched. This did not help to ease any qualms Pirate fans may have over the red flags/concerns that Gonzales brings with him to Pittsburgh.

As for Pérez, he comes with his fair share of concern as well. Last season, he posted a 4.45 ERA, 4.99 FIP, and 0.8 WAR in 141.2 innings pitched with the Texas Rangers. This came in 35 appearances, 20 of which were starts.

Due to his struggles, Pérez was removed from the Ranger starting rotation over the summer. He is just one year removed from an All-Star season in 2022 when he posted a 5.0 WAR, 2.89 ERA, and a 3.27 FIP.

In his career, the 32-year-old lefty owns a 4.44 ERA, 4.41 FIP, 8.3% walk rate, and a 16.0% strikeout rate in 1440.2 innings pitched. Pérez has pitched in 288 MLB games, 243 of which have been starts. Outside of last season and 2013, Pérez has had the production of a back end of the rotation starter in each season of his career.

Both the Pirates and Pérez will be hoping he can put together a bounce back campaign this season. If that is to happen, odds are, these three pitches will be key for the veteran. If those pitches can rebound to their 2022 levels, Pérez could prove to be a bargain for the Pirates at just $8 million.

Pérez views Pittsburgh as a good opportunity for him. He's also stated he's ready to embrace the role as a veteran leader in the clubhouse for a young pitching staff. If he can do that while also bouncing back with his performance on the mound, it could go a long way toward the Pirates looking to surprise people and compete this season.

First pitch between the Pirates and Orioles is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET on Sunday afternoon at LECOM Park in Bradenton. The game will be televised on SportsNet Pittsburgh, you can listen to the game on 93.7 The Fan, the MLB At-Bat App, and the Audacy App.

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