The Indians and veteran left-handed reliever Oliver Perez have agreed to a new deal, reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter). It’s a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training, tweets Tom Withers of the Associated Press. The 39-year-old Perez has spent the past three seasons in Cleveland. Perez is represented by the Boras Corporation.
Perez has had something of a late-30s renaissance in Cleveland, pitching to a combined 2.67 ERA and 3.22 SIERA in 91 innings since landing with the Indians back in 2018. His strikeout and walk rates trended in the wrong direction during last year’s shortened slate of games — likely a function of facing more right-handed batters than left-handed batters in a season for the first time since 2014. The three-batter minimum rule for relievers is a detriment to specialist relievers like Perez, but he held his own against righties, who managed only a tame .229/.341/.286 batting line in 41 plate appearances against him.
The Cleveland bullpen is clearly lacking in stability, though fireballer James Karinchak looked every bit the part of a dominant closer in 2020. He’ll be set up by steady Nick Wittgren and the talented but still inexperienced Emmanuel Clase. Righty Adam Plutko figures to give the team some long relief and spot-start innings, and Cleveland has also brought Blake Parker, Heath Hembree and Bryan Shaw into the fold on minor league deals similar to their pact with Perez.