Perez, 30, has spent some time in the majors in each of the past five seasons, spending time with the Rays, Pirates and Mets. He seemed passable with the bat in his first couple of seasons with the Rays, hitting .258/.321/.367 in 2018 and 2019. That was just 135 plate appearances but led to a 91 wRC+, roughly average for a catcher. In the three seasons since, however, he’s produced a line of .149/.222/.282.
Defensively, Perez has generally been considered a strong defender. Prospect reports from his time as a minor league highlighted his blocking and game-calling, though his framing was considered a weak point. Both FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus have considered him to be a subpar framer in his time in the big leagues so far, though Defensive Runs Saved considers his defense to be better than average.
Last year, despite not hitting much, he spent a decent amount of time rostered due to injuries. The Pirates were trying to cover for Roberto Pérez, who underwent season-ending hamstring surgery. Michael Perez got selected in his place and lasted on the roster for more than two months but barely hit at all. He was designated for assignment and sent to the Mets for cash considerations, with that club dealing with injuries to James McCann and Tomás Nido at the time. He stuck with the Mets until getting designated for assignment and outrighted in October.
For the Mets, they clearly liked Perez enough to bring him back as non-roster depth. The major league team will feature Omar Narváez and Nido, with a third catcher on the 40-man roster in Francisco Álvarez. The 21-year-old Álvarez made his MLB debut late last year and is considered one of the best prospects in the league, but that’s mainly due to his bat. He seems likely to begin the season at Triple-A to continue developing as a defender. Joel Sherman of The New York Post recently spoke with general manager Billy Eppler, who said there’s a chance Alvarez could crack the big league club out of Spring Training. Some have suggested the club should carry three catchers in order to get the bat of Álvarez into the lineup, though doing so would give him less time to continue developing his defense than if he were the everyday backstop in Triple-A. However the Mets choose to play it, Perez will give them an experienced option to have in Triple-A should they need it at some point. If he gets back onto the roster, he still has an option year remaining and will give the Mets some roster flexibility.