Left-hander Martín Pérez has accepted the $19.65MM qualifying offer that was extended to him by the Rangers, his agent Gustavo Marcano of Octagon confirmed to Efraín Zavarce of IVC Networks. Pérez was one of 14 players to receive a QO, with the deadline for a decision being 3pm Central today.
Pérez, 32, was once a highly-touted prospect with Texas, considered one of the top 100 youngsters in the sport by Baseball America five years running from 2009 to 2013. It was the last of those five years that he seemingly arrived at the major league level, posting a 3.62 ERA over 20 starts and 124 1/3 innings.
However, since then, he struggled to live up to his potential, continuing to get opportunities but serving as more of a back-end innings-eater type. In the eight seasons from 2014 to 2021, his ERA was never lower than 4.38, a stretch that included some modest free agent contracts, all for just a single year. For 2019, he signed with the Twins for $4MM, followed by joining the Red Sox for $6MM in 2020 and re-signing with Boston for $4.5MM in 2021.
That pattern followed into 2022, with Pérez returning to the Rangers on a one-year, $4MM deal. Since the club was handing out mega deals to the likes of Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, the Pérez move was largely left in the shadows. However, he emerged into the spotlight by having the best season of his career at the age of 31. He made 32 starts and tossed 196 1/3 innings while posting a 2.89 ERA.
His 20.6% strikeout rate was a career high but only by a hair, and it was still below league average. He mostly excelled by keeping the ball on the ground and in the park. His 51.4% ground ball rate was about eight points better than last year and his highest since 2016. His 6.5% HR/FB rate was almost 1o points better than last year and the best of his career in a full season’s work.
Advanced metrics are somewhat skeptical that 2.89 ERA was earned or is sustainable, since they all pegged him to be a bit worse. However, his 3.27 FIP, 3.59 xERA and 4.08 SIERA are still solid numbers and a great fit for a Rangers rotation that has lacked stability for quite some time.
As the 2022 season was winding down, reports emerged that there was mutual interest in a reunion between Pérez and the Rangers. They were apparently discussing multi-year deals recently, presumably with lower annual salaries, but couldn’t get anything done prior to last week’s QO offer deadline. The club decided he was worth this year’s…