The Red Sox have declined their $6MM club option on left-hander Martin Perez, per Alex Speier of The Boston Globe. He will instead receive a $500K buyout and head into free agency. Right-hander Garrett Richards will also have his $10MM option declined, per Chris Cotillo of MassLive. He gets a $1.5MM buyout on his way into the free agent pool.
The decision on Perez is largely unsurprising, given how things went for him in 2021. He posted mediocre results over the first few months of the season and was eventually bumped to a bullpen role for the playoff stretch. In 22 starts, the last of which was August 5th, he threw 100 innings with an ERA of 4.77, 19.1% strikeout rate and 7.4% walk rate. After moving to the bullpen, he logged 14 innings in 14 games with similar results, as he had an ERA of 4.50, strikeout rate of 18.8% and 4.7% walk rate. Perez also pitched three postseason innings for the Red Sox, but they didn’t go well, as he allowed six hits, four walks and four earned runs, without tallying a strikeout.
Despite that meager showing, Perez could garner some interest for a job at the back of a rotation or a swing role. Although he has a lengthy track record, he’s still relatively young, turning 31 in April. The lack of strikeouts have always been a part of his numbers and that hasn’t stopped him from having productive seasons in the past. He could help a team soak up some innings without a huge financial commitment.
As for Richards, he also made 22 starts but eventually got bumped into a bullpen role, just like Perez. His last start was August 8th, just a few days after his teammate’s. In those starts, he logged 110 1/3 innings with an ERA of 5.22, strikeout rate of 17.2% and 9.5% walk rate. After moving into a relief role, things seemed to greatly improve for him, as explored by MLBTR’s Steve Adams in September. At that time, Richards had thrown 20 2/3 innings out of the bullpen with an ERA of 0.87, a 29.4 percent strikeout rate, a 9.4 percent walk rate and a 48.1 percent ground-ball rate. However, his final few appearances weren’t great and his ERA as a reliever shot up to 3.42. Richards made one postseason appearance but was removed from the ALDS roster with a hamstring strain that ultimately ended his season.
He will make for an interesting wildcard option on the free agent market this year. He’s now far removed from his best stretch as a starter, which came in 2013-2015, but he showed flashes of potentially being an effective reliever, albeit in a fairly small sample size. He’ll turn 34 in May and seems to be in line for a short-term deal, whether it’s as a starter or reliever.