The Orioles have agreed to a minor league contract with free-agent catcher Carlos Perez, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. He’ll be invited to Major League Spring Training and would earn a $650K base salary upon making the big league roster.
Perez, 28, appeared in 20 games for the Rangers and another eight for the Braves in 2018, hitting a combined .143/.178/.214 in a tiny sample of 75 plate appearances. Perez has never hit much in the Majors, though last year’s struggles were a new low point in terms of his offensive output; he’s a lifetime .215/.257/.319 hitter in 670 PAs — all of which came with the Angels with the exception of last year’s brief stints in Atlanta and Texas.
For all of his offensive deficiencies, Perez is a gifted defender behind the plate. He’s thrown out a terrific 38 percent of attempted base thieves in his MLB career and a similarly strong 36 percent in parts of 11 minor league seasons. He’s also regularly received average or better grades for his framing and pitch blocking abilities, per Baseball Prospectus.
Chance Sisco, Austin Wynns and Andrew Susac are the only catchers on the Orioles’ 40-man roster, and none of that trio has proven himself capable of producing at the game’s top level just yet. While there’s hope that Sisco, long one of the game’s top catching prospects, will take that step forward in the near future, it’s also not a surprise to see Baltimore add some defensive-minded insurance on the cheap, given the uncertainty that permeates the catching corps at present.