Winter meetings are coming, and,ly, with them will come some news. I guess I should thank the Jays for hiring Don Mattingly, but changing a bench coach wouldn’t rank as news if anything else was happening.
We have used this idea for the last couple of years. The idea is to go through some of the top free agents, using the contract FanGraphs suggests and have a poll to see if we would sign him for that amount.
Martín Pérez is number 20 on FanGraphs’ list and #14 on Keith Law’s list.
Pérez turns 32 in early April. He’s played 11 seasons in the majors, but 2022 was his best by far. He had a 12-8 record, a 2.89 ERA in 32 starts, 196.1 innings. His 5.0 bWAR was his best by far (his second best season by bWAR was 2.3 in 2017).
He was a top prospect but never lived up to it until this last season.
What changed? His strikeout rate was only a little bit better than in the past, his walk rate was right at his career average. He got a lot more ground balls than the last couple of seasons (51.4%), but that’s not all that much better than his career number.
Keith Law says:
Pérez turned in an All-Star season pitching in the Rangers rotation, just as we’d all predicted for him back in 2011-12, when he was the best pitching prospect in baseball … we’ll just skip over everything that happened in between. Pérez first added a cutter to his repertoire while with the Twins in 2019, and the pitch has improved gradually since then, while the Rangers had him go sinker-heavy, almost ditching his four-seamer completely. His changeup was once his out pitch and remains his best option for a swing and miss, but the cutter gets him a lot of weak contact, especially since he keeps it out of the heart of the zone. His batted-ball data and peripherals don’t point to a sub-3 ERA, in part because he had such a high strand rate (77 percent), but he looks like he could have a second act here as a ground-ball-inducing, mid-rotation starter.
Pérez’s career prior to 2022 shows what teams often get when they sign a free agent in this tier. You can’t count on above-average performance; if you could, you’d have to pay him more. But I like Pérez’s odds of putting together another good season. He’s one of many pitchers who benefitted from throwing fewer four-seam fastballs, and his current sinker/cutter/changeup pitch mix suits him well. He’s durable, which is a huge selling point when you’re signing pitchers who are more notable for the innings they’ll fill than their likelihood of winning the Cy Young. His cutter looks as good as it ever has. Truthfully, I think Pérez will be a bargain. I just think that his track record and age will hold him back from getting a bigger deal.
Ben figures Pérez will get a two-year contract at $15 million yearly, for $30 total.
Should the Jays sign Martín Pérez if the price is $15 a year for two years?
This poll is closed
Probably, but I’m not enthusiastic about it
Probably no, but I wouldn’t hate it
No, absolutely not