Former big league lefty Odalis Perez has tragically passed away, reports Hector Gomez of Z101 Digital. (On Twitter) Gomez relays that the former member of the Braves, Dodgers, Royals and Nationals “suffered a blow to the head after falling from a ladder.” He was 44 years old.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Perez began his MLB career with the Braves in September of 1998, just a few months after his 21st birthday. He appeared in ten games out of the bullpen, throwing 10 2/3 innings with an ERA of 4.22. He followed that up with a 1999 season that saw him make 18 appearances, 17 of those being starts, throwing 93 innings with an even 6.00 ERA. After missing the entirety of the 2000 campaign due to injury, he bounced back in 2001 and logged 95 1/3 innings with an ERA of 4.91.
Prior to the 2002 campaign, Perez and two other Braves were part of a huge trade, going to the Dodgers in the deal that sent Gary Sheffield to Atlanta. That year, Perez had the best season of his career, throwing 222 1/3 innings over 32 starts with an ERA of 3.00. He racked up 155 strikeouts and finished the season with a record of 15-10. He was selected to the National League All-Star team that year.
Perez went on to be a mainstay of the Dodgers’ rotation for another three and a half seasons before being dealt to the Royals in July of 2006. He and two other Dodgers were traded to Kansas City for Elmer Dessens. He pitched out of the Royals’ rotation for the remainder of that season as well as the 2007 campaign.
In 2008, he signed a minor league deal with the Nationals, eventually having his contract selected and making the Opening Day start for the club. He allowed a fourth-inning home run to Chipper Jones, which was the first long ball in the history of Nationals Park. That season would ultimately prove to be his last MLB action. All told, he finished his career having played in 252 games, making 221 starts, throwing 1,335 innings with an ERA of 4.46. He racked up 920 strikeouts, four complete games and two shutouts.
We at MLB Trade Rumors offer condolences to the Perez family, as well as his many friends, fans and loved ones.