The Pittsburgh Pirates addressed their starting rotation needs on Monday in a big way. First reported by FanSided's own Robert Murray, the Pirates and defending World Series champion Martin Perez are closing in on an agreement, pending a physical.
Additionally, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Gazette is reporting that the deal will be a one-year worth $8 million. A significant decrease from Perez's $19.6 million salary last season with the Rangers after accepting a qualifying offer. So this could be a nice upside pickup with a low risk factor being it is just $8 million total.
A 12-year veteran, Perez has spent the last two seasons with the Texas Rangers, his second stint in Arlington. During those two seasons, Perez pitched some of the best baseball of his career, appearing in 67 games including 52 starts while pitching to a 3.54 ERA across 338 innings pitched. He also had a 3.99 FIP and an ERA+ of 118.
He also posted a SO9 of 7.0 and a BB9 of 3.1. Notably, Perez was strong at limiting the long ball during his time with the Rangers, allowing just 32 home runs in his 67 appearances.
Perez's 2022 season was the best of his career with a 2.89 ERA, 3.26 FIP, and 138 ERA+ across 196.1 innings pitched. He was named an American League All-Star in the process.
As noted above, the last two seasons were Perez's second stint with the Rangers. He also spent the 2012 through 2018 seasons with the club, in 141 games, Perez collected a 43-49 record with a 4.63 ERA and 4.44 FIP across 761 innings pitched.
He was also 10-7 with a 5.12 ERA and 4.66 FIP in 165.1 innings pitched in 2019 for Minnesota before spending two seasons with the Red Sox in 2020 and 2021, going 10-13 with a 4.65 ERA and 4.84 FIP in 48 appearances including 34 starts, pitching 176 innings. Since the 2016 season, Perez has made 30+ appearances in five of six full seasons including each of the last four not counting the 2020 COVID shortened season.
For the Pittsburgh Pirates, Perez will bring a strong veteran presence to their starting rotation as well as durability.
The native of Guanre, Venezuela will be 33 years of age come Opening Day. He'll join a Pirates rotation that is currently projected to consist of Marco Gonzalez, Mitch Keller, Luis Ortiz, and Bailey Falter. Vince Velasquez, who may re-sign with the Pirates, is still working his way back from season-ending elbow surgery last June and is not expected to be ready until the summer at the earliest. Roansy Contreras and Quinn Priester will be in the competition for a starting rotation spot as well.