Seattle Mariners resign reliever Oliver Perez

Perez coming back

The Seattle Mariners announced today that they have resigned left-handed reliever Oliver Perez for the 2013 season.

Perez receives a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. There’s an extra $600K that can be made through performance bonuses.

This isn’t a step forward or back, but a lateral move designed to retain a Seattle bullpen that ranked 12th in the majors in 2012 with a 3.39 ERA.

Oliver Perez

Oliver Perez returns to Seattle for 2013. Photo Credit: NBA Sports

The signing looks a lot better this time around than last season, when Perez first came to the Mariners. Back then, he was coming off a horrific two season stretch in which he started 21 games with a 6.81 ERA.

But instead of starting, Perez was delegated to the Mariner’s ‘pen.

What a difference that made, as the 31-year old made 33 appearances for Seattle, pitching to the tune of a 2.12 ERA and 1.25 WHIP—while recovering some lost velocity. He even had solid platoon stats, pitching better against right handers than left.

Despite his solid year, there are still some red flags.

Perez had an average .295 BABIP, but a high 4.37 xFIP. Not to mention the three losses, two blown saves and 3.09 BB/9. He also had an above average 84.3 strand rate—high even for a reliever.

Now, you can’t read too much into these figures. Sabermetrics are often hard to apply to relievers. They have limited sample sizes, are specialized and they’re often called upon when men are already on base.

The only advanced stat that really worries me is the 4.37 xFIP.

That means that Perez was serving up a lot of fly balls in Safeco. Now that the fences are being adjusted, chances are he won’t be able to get away with that kind of thing anymore.

In the end, there’s not a lot to love or hate about this deal. Perez was solid in 2012, and until seen otherwise he should be more of the same in 2013. And if he isn’t, it’s a very cheap deal one-year deal that can be traded with ease.

As long as he doesn’t return to starting, this is a good move.


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