Both during and after Martin Perez’s bounce-back season, the veteran left-hander and the Rangers shared mutual interest in a potential contract extension. The two sides have met for negotiations, and while no deal has yet emerged, Rangers GM Chris Young told the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant that “we continue to have good conversations. We’re hopeful of getting something done, but we’re considering various options, including the qualifying offer. We understand that Martín will have value on the free agent market.”
Once the World Series is over, teams have five days to issue qualifying offers (a one-year, $19.65MM deal) to any eligible free agents. Perez fits the bill for eligibility, as a player who has never received a QO in the past, and who spent the entire 2022 season with one team. If a free agent rejects a qualifying offer and signs elsewhere, his former team would then receive a compensatory draft pick — in the Rangers’ case, that pick would fall between Competitive Balance Round B and the third round, so a pick around 75th and 80th overall.
That extra draft selection would be particularly useful for a Texas club that lost picks for signing Corey Seager and Marcus Semien (who both rejected QOs) last winter in free agency, and who might very well be prepared to lose more picks for other qualifying-offer free agents this offseason. The Rangers are expected to continue being aggressive as they look to finally get back into contention, and any number big names could be on the radar in Young’s first winter running the front office.
That said, starting pitching is the Rangers’ most glaring need, so a reunion with Perez could well be more valuable in the short term than the bigger-term value of a compensatory draft pick. If Perez did accept the one-year qualifying offer, nothing prevents the two sides from continuing to discuss a multi-year deal. Back in the 2019-20 offseason, Jose Abreu accepted the QO from the White Sox, and shortly thereafter signed a new extension that added two additional years beyond his commitment to the 2020 campaign.
These are some of the reasons that MLBTR’s Anthony Franco listed Perez as a borderline possibility in his recent preview of the qualifying-offer market, as both Perez and the Rangers face some interesting pros and cons regarding the QO. As Franco noted, Perez’s underlying metrics didn’t reveal any huge difference between Perez’s 2022 season and the southpaw’s more inconsistent past seasons. If the Rangers think some regression is coming, they just might not value Perez at the $19.65MM price point. While the Rangers would naturally be offering him more total dollars over the course of a multi-year arrangement, spreading out that cost over at least two seasons might be more palatable from the team’s perspective, especially if Texas is planning to start spending closer to the luxury tax threshold in the next year or two.
$19.65MM would easily represent the biggest single-season salary of Perez’s career, and he could opt to accept the QO simply to cash in on his comeback season. However, with almost $36MM earned over 11 Major League seasons, Perez has already banked quite a bit of financial security. Coming off four straight one-year contracts and entering his age-32 season, Perez might be looking for more stability at this point in his career, and might prefer a multi-year contract to a one-year pact, even at the higher $19.65MM price point of a qualifying offer.
Once that five-day period after the World Series ends, free agency officially opens to the entire league, and the Rangers lose their exclusive negotiating rights with Perez. The deadline for players to decide on accepting or rejecting qualifying offers doesn’t come until 10 days after the opening of free agency, giving Perez more time to ponder his choice if Texas did opt to issue the QO.