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Reds sign Oliver Perez to minor-league deal

Cincinnati adds some bullpen depth.

MLB: NLDS-Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals
The lefty journeyman has found a new home.
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Reds have signed lefty reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league deal with an invite to Major League spring training camp, per a team announcement.

The 36-year-old Perez just finished up a two-year contract in the nation’s capital, during which he earned $7 million and posted a 4.81 ERA over 73 innings, striking out 85 and walking 32 over 114 appearances. Notably, Perez allowed just eight home runs during his Nationals tenure.

If he makes the major league club out of spring training or appears in a Reds uniform later on in the season, the Redlegs will be the eighth major-league club for the well-traveled veteran, who began his career as a starter for the Padres, Pirates and Mets before reinventing himself as a lefty specialist with the Mariners, Diamondbacks, Astros and Nationals.

Since moving to the bullpen full-time in 2012, Perez has posted a solid 3.74 ERA with 10.9 K/9 and a 1.343 WHIP, while holding lefties to a .669 OPS. Righties, predictably, have fared far better, posting a .745 OPS. 16 of the 24 homers Perez has allowed since his move to the bullpen have been hit by opposite-sided batters.

Assuming the Reds go with eight men in the bullpen to start the season, it seems as if Perez will have a solid shot of making the roster. Five spots appear to be taken by Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen, David Hernandez, Wandy Peralta and Jared Hughes, but there’s a wide-open competition for the last 3 spots. Contenders include Kevin Shackelford, Austin Brice, Amir Garrett (who is out of options), electric youngster Ariel Hernandez, and fellow non-roster invitees Kevin Quackenbush and Kyle Crockett.