The Diamondbacks have signed left-handed reliever Oliver Perez to a two-year deal, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports was the first to report the two sides were close. Our own Chris Cotillo reports that the deal is expected to pay approximately $4.25 million without additional incentives.
The 32-year-old threw 82 2/3 innings out of the Mariners bullpen over the last two seasons, posting a 3.16 ERA with two saves while working primarily as a setup man. Perez had fairly even splits in 2012, but he struggled against righties some last season, suggesting that he may be best for a LOOGY role in the future.
Regardless of the role he recieves in Arizona, Perez has come a long way since moving to the bullpen at the end of his disastrous run with the Mets in 2010. New York acquired the southpaw from the Pirates for outfielder Xavier Nady in 2006 and he had what appeared to be breakout year in 2007, going 15-10 with a 3.56 ERA over 177 innings. He took a slight step back with a league-average performance in 2008, but the Mets had enough confidence in him to sign him to a three-year, $36 million the following offseason. Perez then reverted to the wildness that had plagued him as young pitcher with the Pirates, walking 7.9 hitter per nine innings in 2009 and a 8.2 rate in 2010 which prompted the Mets to move him to the bullpen. He refused an assignment to the minors to fix his command issues in May of that season and was placed on the DL under what appeared to be suspicious circumstances ( the league investigated the assignment, but found no wrong-doing). The Mets then released Perez during spring training the next season. He found a minor-league deal with the Nationals ifor 2011 but did not reach the majors.
Since earning a spot in the Mariners bullpen in June of 2012, Perez has shown resurgent velocity on his fastball, averaging 93.7 mph in 2012 and 92.4 mph. In his final season in New York, he was averaging 89 mph. Control is still a weakness for the Mexican hurler- he walked 4.4 hitters per nine innings in 2013- but the added velocity has helped him build up his strikeout rates to compensate. He posted the highest K/9 rate of his career in 2013 with a 12.6 rate.