The deal with Arizona represents a change of plans for the veteran Perez, who’d previously been slated to play with los Toros de Tijuana in the Mexican League for the upcoming season. Perez announced that he planned to retire after spending the season with the Toros, although that signing and the announcement by Perez came while the MLB lockout was still in place. For now, Perez will shift his focus and instead take aim at an incredible twentieth MLB season.
Perez, 40, has spent the past four seasons in Cleveland, where he’s pitched to a combined 2.57 ERA in 94 2/3 frames of relief work. Perez, however, only tossed 3 2/3 innings in the Majors last year. He spent the rest of the season pitching with that same Toros club for which he’d been planning to play while the lockout was still ongoing.
At this point, the veteran Perez’s track record largely speaks for itself. After a roller-coaster run as a starting pitcher from 2002-10, Perez moved to the bullpen with the 2012 Mariners and embarked on what has essentially amounted to a second career as a reliever. Working for a long time as the quintessential lefty specialist, Perez has made 489 relief appearances and totaled 350 innings of 3.42 ERA ball since that 2012 campaign began.
The implementation of the three-batter minimum wasn’t a great development for pitchers with specialized skill sets of this nature, but Perez had no trouble getting right-handed opponents out in 2020. It was an admittedly short sample, and his career numbers tell another story, but Perez held righties to a .229/.342/.286 slash in 41 plate appearances that year and was similarly effective in another dozen tries last year.