The Red Sox move Martin Perez to the bullpen
The Red Sox hit each other Martin Pérez at the paddock, manager Alex Cora told reporters (including Steve Hewitt of the Boston Herald). right handed Tanner Houck is the favorite to take his place in the starting rotation.
Pérez has been a regular member of Boston’s starting five for the entire past two seasons. He started 12 games in last year’s truncated campaign and has made 22 starts this season. The southpaw steadily took the ball reliably, but posted below-par results throughout his tenure in Boston. Pérez worked at a 4.50 / 5.43 SIERA ERA in 62 innings last season, posting lower-than-par strikeouts and goals.
The southpaw at least excelled at avoiding damage to batted balls last year, keeping opponents at an average exit speed of 86.3 MPH and a hard contact rate of a tiny 29.2%. This apparently played into Boston’s decision to bring Pérez back on a $ 5 million guarantee, but his contact removal skills did not continue into 2021. Hitters make solid contact on 42.3% of bullets hit against him this year, the worst rate of his career. To his credit, Pérez made some improvements to his pull and walk rates, but the more bossy contact he gave up contributed to a disappointing 4.77 out of 100 frames ERA.
Pérez will now move on to an enclosure role, where he will add another left-hander to a group that already includes Josh taylor and Austin davis. Pérez was better against left-handed hitters (.246 / .333 / .386) than right-handed (.284 / .352 / .475) during his time in Boston, so maybe a situational role just might. serve him. This seems likely to come at a financial cost, as Pérez’s deal contains bonuses of $ 100,000 for hitting each of the 130, 140, 150, 160, and 170 innings pitched. A movement of enclosure will prevent him from reaching even the lowest of these thresholds on the section. The deal also contains a $ 6 million club option for 2022 that looks more likely to be redeemed.
Houck has made six appearances (including four starts) in the majors this season. The 25-year-old pitched 22 innings with a 2.45 ERA, hitting batters with an elite clip of 33.7% while walking just 5.6% of opponents. Houck posted equally strong strikeouts and goals in six starts with the Triple-A Worcester, although he was scored for a less impressive 5.14 ERA in minors. Between his strong peripherals at this level and his quality results during his brief stint in the big leagues, the former first-round pick won a more consistent run in the MLB rotation.
The reshuffle comes at a pivotal moment for the Red Sox, who came into play tonight with a 64-46 record. Boston is trailing the Rays by 1.5 games in the AL East, and they are 2.5 games ahead of Athletics for the top Wild Card spot in the American League. Houck is expected to take the ball tomorrow afternoon against the Blue Jays, who are five games behind Boston in the standings.