Nearly a full month after reaching an agreement with him, the Red Sox announced on Friday that they have brought back left-hander Martin Perez on a one-year contract for the 2021 season that includes a club option for 2022.
In order to make room for Perez on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox also designated right-hander Chris Mazza for assignment on Friday.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported back in January that Perez, 30 in April, will earn a base salary of $4.5 million this season and will have the opportunity to earn $6 million in 2022 if his club option is picked up.
If not, Perez will net himself $500,000 in the form of a buyout, so he is guaranteed to make $5 million regardless of what happens next winter. His deal also includes incentives based on number of innings pitched in 2021 and 2022.
The 29-year-old hurler is a few months removed from a solid 2020 campaign with the Red Sox in which he posted a 4.50 ERA and 4.88 FIP over 12 starts and 62 innings pitched in his first go-around in Boston.
Don’t let those numbers fool you, though, because outside of two poor outings against the Orioles on July 25 and September 24, Perez proved to be one of the Sox’ most consistent starters last year by putting up a 3.57 ERA and .686 OPS against in 10 starts (53 innings) from July 30 through September 18.
The Red Sox originally inked the Venezuelan international to a one-year pact that also included a $6.25 million team option back in December 2019, but went on to decline that option this past November.
At the time, Perez was rather dismayed by that decision, but he did not give up hope that he might be able to re-sign with the club this winter.
“I was disappointed at one point,” he said when speaking with reporters via Zoom earlier Friday evening. “But at the same time, I told my agent, ‘I want to wait because I know they’re trying to make a lot of moves.’ And I want to wait because all offseason, my mind was in Boston — my heart too. I felt good last year. I enjoyed the short season that we played, and I especially enjoyed the fans and how they texted me after games. You guys, too, do a great job for me. That’s why I always told my agent, ‘I want to be back. I just want to wait and let’s see what they got for me.’ And finally, we made the deal and now I’m back.”
Given his return to Boston’s pitching staff, Perez figures to open the 2021 season as the Sox’ No. 2 or No. 3 starter depending on how things play out at spring training. He joins a mix of arms vying for rotation spots that consists of Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathen Eovaldi, Garrett Richards, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck, Matt Andriese, and Garrett Whitlock.
Moving on to Mazza now, the 31-year-old was designated for assignment by the Sox a little under 14 months after originally being claimed off waivers from the Mets in late December 2019.
Starting the 2020 season at the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket, Mazza made his Red Sox debut on August 1 and went on to produce a 4.80 ERA and 4.26 FIP over nine appearances, six of which were starts, and 30 innings of work in three separate stints with the team.
The Red Sox now have a week to either trade, release, or sneak Mazza through waivers, though it doesn’t seem too crazy for another team to put in a waiver claim for the California native considering the fact he still has one minor-league option remaining for 2021.
With this transaction completed, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is at full capacity, which means two spots still need to be cleared so that Hirokazu Sawamura and Marwin Gonzalez can be added sooner rather than later.
That will be something to monitor as the start of major-league camp draws closer (February 18).
(Picture of Martin Perez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)