A Look at New Red Sox Lefty Martin Perez

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When the Red Sox signed Martin Perez, I was torn on the move.  Torn because the Red Sox fan in me was worrying more on the name on the back of the jersey than the front.  On the Boston Sports Syndicate’s Red Sox Podcast to Be Named Later (which can be found on iTunes) I was critical of the signing.  Now that some smoke has settled I have thought about Perez objectively and think he could actually be a sneaky signing for Chaim Bloom.

Photo courtesy of bostonglobe.com
Perez spent last season with the Twins, where he went 10-7 with a 5.12 ERA in 29 starts.  He allowed 184 hits, 94 earned runs, and 23 HRs, with 135 strikeouts.  He did add a cutter to his arsenal of pitches, which is what Bloom took notice of.  If Perez pitches with confidence, he could be a sneaky solid signing for the Sox.

At the start of Spring Training last year, former Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana worked with Perez and added a cutter to his pitches.  When Perez threw the cutter the results last season were there, too.  Opponents batted .218 against it, according to Brooks Baseball.

“I’m not scared to throw that pitch as hard as I can,” Perez said.  “I don’t do anything with my hand. That’s why that pitch helps me a lot.  I just throw it like a cut fastball and it works for me.  I think that’s the difference.”

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Perez spent seven years in the Rangers system without great success.  With the Twins last season, Perez saw his fastball velocity jump from 92-93 mph to 94-96 mph.  When he added the cutter, thanks to the help from Santana, his strikeout rates improved as well.  Perez and former right hander Rick Porcello’s numbers are similar from last season, which is important to note because the Red Sox signed Perez for less than the Mets signed Porcello.

New Red Sox pitching coach Dave Bush will need to find the right adjustments Perez will need to make to become a consistent member of the team’s rotation for all of the 2020 season.  In an interview with the Athletic, Bush was asked if something he saw in Perez that the team could improve?  "For guys like him that have been around for a while, it's small adjustments in things like pitch mix" said Bush.  Bush will work with Perez on how he can incorporate his new cutter with his mix of pitches.

The Red Sox were aggressive in their pursuit of Perez this off-season.  In fact, Perez’s agent said as many as five teams were in on his client, but Perez wanted to be in Boston.

Perez said “the Red Sox have been following me for a couple of years.  Now, we have the chance to sign and, like I said, be a part of the Red Sox organization.”

Bloom signed the lefty on the last day of the Winter Meetings to a one-year $6 million dollar deal with an option for a second year at $6.25 million.

The signing comes on the heels of former Red Sox righty Rick Porcello leaving for New York to pitch for the Mets.  Porcello signed a one-year deal for $10 million.  The Perez signing is $4 million less with the possibility of upside.

Perez, who will turn 29 in April, is projected as more of a back of the rotation player.  In fact, he’s the perfect candidate to pitch during an “opener” approach if the Sox go that route next season.

Perez isn’t going to be an ace and he isn’t going to be someone we should expect a whole lot out of.  If Perez can win between 8-10 games for the Sox this year and has an ERA around 4.00-4.25, I’ll call that a win.

Sox fans need to temper their expectations on Perez.  Just don’t do what I did and overreact to the name on the back of the laundry because the name on the front is more important.  This move begins to bridge the gap for the team as they look to find cheaper and younger options for the roster.  Perez brings risk, but the reward could outweigh the risk.

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COMMENTS

BLOGGER: 1
  1. So let's hope he never throws anything besides a cutter.

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Boston Sports Syndicate: A Look at New Red Sox Lefty Martin Perez
A Look at New Red Sox Lefty Martin Perez
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