The Red Sox signed free agent lefthander Martin Perez on Thursday.
The 6-foot, 200-pounder spent seven years with the Rangers, and last year with the Twins. The 28-year-old has a career record of 53-56 with a 4.72 ERA. Last season, he went 10-7 with a 5.12 ERA.
Perez agreed to a one-year, $6 million deal with a club option for 2021 at $6.25 million.
Baseball is in an age of versatility.
The more positions you play, the more valuable you are to your club. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom reiterated that over the course of Winter Meetings, and the Red Sox put their words into action Thursday afternoon.
First, they plucked utility infielder Jonathan Arauz from the Houston Astros’ Triple A Round Rock affiliate in the major league phase of the Rule 5 Draft. Then the team signed Jose Peraza to a one-year deal worth $3 million and incentives.
The Reds recently non-tendered Peraza. He hit just .239 with Cincinnati last season in 403 plate appearances and doesn’t get on base much (just a career .312 OBP). His 2018 campaign, however, was a good one. Peraza hit .288 in 683 plate appearances to go along with 14 homers. More importantly, he brings that infield versatility — even playing some outfield. Peraza is also just 25 years old and is controllable through the end of 2022 season, which makes it easier for the Sox to part ways with Brock Holt, who is a 31-year-old free agent and will have a solid market.
As for Arauz, he’s less proven and hasn’t produced much in the minors. He hit just .249 between Advanced A and Double A last season with 11 homers, but he’s another depth piece and he’s just 21 years old.
“He came to us highly recommended from our scouts and our analysts,” said vice president of pro scouting Gus Quattlebaum. “Younger guy, switch-hitter, versatile glove. He has some work to do physically to get stronger but we like his bat-to-ball skills. We’re excited to give him an opportunity to compete for a utility infield position.”
The Red Sox also took righthanders Raynel Espinal from the New York Yankees’ Double A Trenton affiliate and Jose Espada from the Toronto Blue Jays’ Double A New Hampshire affiliate, in the Triple A phase of the draft.
Espinal, 28, had a 4.32 ERA last season in 75 innings.
“Espinal is an older guy,” Quattlebaum said. “He’s recovering from Tommy John surgery. We came away comfortable with what we saw in the medical review. We’re hopeful that he can come back, I would say mid-summer. [He has] a power arm.”
The team believes Espinal has some starter upside.
Espada missed time last year with an elbow sprain, pitching in just 11⅔ innings. He’s 22, and like Espinal, Quattlebaum said Espada also has a power arm.
“We like the fastball-slider combo,” Quattlebaum added. “We figured it was worth a shot.”
It was a relatively quiet Winter Meetings for the Red Sox other than the small transactions that took place Thursday. Bloom said the team wouldn’t take a reactionary approach to any of the other moves being made, and they didn’t — not even Gerrit Cole’s move to the Yankees.
This Winter Meetings for the Sox was more about starting the dialogue for moves to come before the 2020 season, as well as laying the foundation for future transactions.
“I think we did have a productive week,” Bloom said. “We were able to get pretty involved in conversations that helped us flesh out our options and potentially some new options for us to look at. A lot of these things are moving targets, but we feel pretty good about the conversations.
Vice president of player development Ben Crockett said Noah Song, a fourth-round pick in the 2019 draft, was assigned back to the Naval Academy and is awaiting word on whether he’ll go to flight training or be given a waiver to pursue a baseball career. The righthander had a 1.06 ERA in 17 innings for short-season Lowell last summer.