The Athletics have re-signed catcher Carlos Pérez to a minor league deal, according to his transactions tracker at MLB.com. The backstop will presumably receive an invitation to major league Spring Training.
Pérez, 33, should not be confused with his younger brother Carlos Pérez, who is a backstop in the White Sox system. The elder Pérez returned to the majors leagues in 2023 after not making it to the show during the 2019-2022 period. He had been in the big leagues as a part-time catcher with the Angels, Braves and Rangers from 2015 to 2018 but the next four year saw him sign minor league pacts with various and not get selected to a major league roster.
Last year, he signed a minor league deal with the A’s and cracked the Opening Day roster. He served as a backup to youngster Shea Langeliers, getting into 68 games on the year. His .226/.293/.357 batting line translated to a wRC+ of 84. That indicates he was 16% below league average overall, but not too bad for a catcher. MLB backstops produced a wRC+ of 90 in 2023, so getting near that from a backup isn’t too shabby. On defense, Statcast wasn’t especially fond of his blocking or framing but did like his work with the running game.
The A’s could have retained Pérez via arbitration, with MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projecting a modest salary of $1.2MM, just a bit above next year’s $740K minimum. Instead, they outrighted him off the roster in October, with Pérez electing free agency shortly thereafter.
The A’s go into 2024 with Langeliers once again likely to handle to everyday catching duties but no obvious backup. Tyler Soderstrom is also on the 40-man but he has long faced questions about his defense, with many prospect evaluators expecting him to move off the position eventually. He also limped to a line of .160/.232/.240 in his first 138 MLB plate appearances.
The club has also signed Yohel Pozo to a minor league deal, meaning they have a couple of catchers with major league experience providing non-roster depth. If Soderstrom gets sent back to the minors for more seasoning or is spending his time as a first baseman/designated hitter, then someone like Pérez could get added to the big league roster as a veteran backup. Then there’s always the possibility of an injury opening up more playing time. If Pérez gets selected to the roster at some point, he’s out of options.