Coming into the season, there was some buzz about Perez, who had been showing improved velocity and an intriguing new cutter — both of which contributed to the Twins’ decision to give him a somewhat surprising MLB deal. While those new tweaks served him well in the early stages of the season, it seems the league quickly adjusted to the changes he’d made.
Perez had moments at times in 2019 — he shut the Astros out over eight innings on May 1 and followed that with seven scoreless frames in Toronto — but he was never consistently effective enough to warrant the $7.5MM price tag of the option year. In fact, following that brilliant pair of scoreless outings, Perez’s results mirrored the form that led to him being jettisoned by the Rangers. Over his final 24 starts of the season, he pitched to a sky-high 5.88 ERA with an ugly 96-to-51 K/BB ratio and 21 home runs allowed in 124 innings. He finished the season with a 5.12 ERA and averages of 7.4 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 through 165 1/3 innings.
Lefties who average 94.1 mph on their heater in a starting role don’t grow on trees, and Perez regularly demonstrates above-average ground-ball tendencies as well. He’s still just 28 years old, too, so teams will continue to be intrigued not just by his raw abilities but by his youth relative to other freely available pitchers. He’ll head into the open market looking for another opportunity elsewhere and quite likely find a number of clubs with interest — though he may have to accept a lesser base or even a minor league contract.