Perez given 'pen role, told '19 option unlikely

August 30th, 2018

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have told left-handed pitcher that right now they are not planning to pick up his option for 2019 and that he will be in the bullpen the rest of the season.

The Rangers may have interest in re-signing Perez as a reliever but at this point they are not inclined to pick up his $7.5 million option for next season.

"We told Martin that if the decision had to be made today, we probably wouldn't exercise the option," general manager Jon Daniels said. "It's possible we could still work something out for him to continue his career here. Martin's always had great talent, and a great arm. We want to take this time to evaluate him in a bullpen role, where he's got a chance to excel."

The Rangers told Perez of their position in a meeting after a 3-1 loss to the Dodgers on Wednesday night.

"It surprised me," Perez said. "I understand, you know, the way I've been pitching. I can't get mad. But 100 percent I wasn't waiting for that. That surprised me."

The Rangers were hoping for a big season from Perez after he finished strong last year and won a career-high 13 games. But he sustained a fractured bone in the tip of his right elbow in an offseason accident at his ranch in Venezuela and that had an obvious impact on his year.

He was 2-3 with a 9.67 ERA in five starts in April and then placed on the disabled list with more problems in the right arm. He was activated on July 14 and is 0-3 with a 5.68 ERA in eight starts since then.

"I have in my mind to prepare for next year," Perez said. "Tough year for me, surgery, the ups and downs, and that's when you need to have your mind strong and fight with the bad result that you have after the games and during the game. It's just part of the game, man."

The Rangers have a number of other pitchers they want to see in the rotation in September, most notably rookie left-hander . They also want to see what Perez looks like as a one to two inning reliever and if that might be a better role for him.

"When you look at a left-hander that has a 94-95 mile-per-hour fastball, good sinking life on the fastball, does have a breaking ball and there is a plus changeup in there," manager Jeff Banister said. "We just feel like in those type of stints where he's not trying to pace himself in a starter's role, the stuff might play up, the swing and miss might increase. The consensus was we felt like this was a situation for a guy that the stuff has an opportunity to trend up and be a very nice option in a bullpen role."

Perez clearly wasn't happy with what he perceived as a demotion.

"I could think a lot of things, but I have to go do my job, man," Perez said. "I know who I am, and I know what I can do from the starter position, but I have to respect what they say, and the decisions they make for us. And I can't do anything about it. I didn't expect this, no. But finish strong, that's it. Just go out there and be the guy that I know that I can be there, that's it."