The Red Sox have signed catcher Roberto Pérez, per Jon Heyman of The New York Post. It’s a minor league deal with an invite to major league camp, per Chris Cotillo of MassLive. Cotillo adds that Perez will get a $1.4MM base salary if added to the roster.
Pérez, 35 next week, has been one of the better defensive catchers in the majors during his career but has hardly played recently due to the pandemic and significant injury issues. He has only played 102 games over the past four seasons and only 26 over the past two. He joined the Pirates for 2022 but only got into 21 contests before a significant hamstring strain required season-ending surgery. This year, he played five games for the Giants before shoulder surgery ended his campaign.
But as mentioned, he has a very strong reputation for his glovework in his career. He has racked up 80 Defensive Runs Saved since making his debut in 2014. The only catcher with more in that timeframe is Austin Hedges and his 86 DRS, though Hedges did so in more than 1,000 extra innings compared to Pérez. Pérez is also considered a strong framer by each of FanGraphs, Baseball Prospectus and Statcast.
His offense hasn’t been as impressive. He did hit 24 home runs in 2019, but that was the “juiced ball” season and he’s never hit more than eight in any other season of his career. Overall, he’s hit .207/.298/.358, which translates to a wRC+ of 77.
The Sox currently have just two catchers on their 40-man roster in Connor Wong and Reese McGuire. Last month, chief baseball officer Craig Breslow said that the club feels good with its catching situation, but Wong and McGuire are 27 and 28 years old, respectively. Pérez will come into Spring Training and serve as a respected veteran presence, while giving the club a bit of extra depth in a non-roster capacity.