Martín Pérez accepts qualifying offer from Rangers

November 16th, 2022

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers’ 2023 rotation is starting to take shape early in the offseason as left-handed pitcher Martín Pérez accepted the club’s qualifying offer ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, the club announced.

Pérez signed with Texas last Spring Training on a one-year, $4 million deal, and he received a serviceable raise by accepting the $19.65 million qualifying offer to extend his second stint with the club by at least a year.

“Me and my agent, we made the decision to stay here in Texas, which is a team where I grew up as a professional baseball player,” Pérez said. “I think we’re going to do good things next year. It looks different for next year, and I want to be part of the history. I told [general manager Chris Young] I just wanted the chance to be a part of the team. I'm proud to be back, really happy, and I’m going to be ready for next season.”

Pérez is expected to join Jon Gray and recent trade acquisition Jake Odorizzi in the Rangers' rotation, allowing them to have a bit more confidence heading into 2023 as they continue to evaluate both the trade and free-agent markets.

In his second stint with Texas, Pérez had a strong campaign, earning his first All-Star appearance while posting a career-best 2.89 ERA over 196 1/3 innings. He was one win shy of matching his career high of 13 in 2017 and 2 2/3 frames shy of setting a new personal high.

An 11-year veteran, Pérez was the anchor of a Rangers staff that struggled to a 4.22 team ERA amid a 94-loss season. The lefty finished eighth in the American League in ERA and fifth in innings pitched, as he produced 23 quality starts for Texas, which was vital for a team that struggled to a 15-35 record in one-run games. Pérez was second on the team in bWAR (5.0) and third in fWAR (3.8).

In 2022, Pérez thrived by limiting hard contact with his six-pitch arsenal dominated by his sinker (35.2%) and changeup (27.6%) combo. The cutter, which he just added in ‘19, became a quality pitch for him, as it played well off his sinker and changeup.

Pérez is more than confident in his ability to repeat his career year or even top it.

“I think it’s experience,” Pérez said. “You’re growing up, and you’re not going to be the same every time. You learn from your teammates, your coaches. I am who I am because I've been listening to a lot of people. I feel good, and I'm proud to be part of this organization. … One hundred percent [I can repeat], because if I didn’t feel that way, I'm maybe not taking a qualifying offer. And I believe in myself. I believe in myself, and I know next year’s going to be better, 100%.”

The Rangers signed Pérez in 2007 as an international free agent out of Venezuela, and he spent the first seven years of his big league career with Texas. He finished sixth in the AL Rookie of the Year vote in 2013, when he was the club’s top-ranked prospect. Even so, he didn’t quite live up to expectations at the time. During his first stint in Texas, Pérez posted a 4.63 ERA with a 1.48 WHIP as he struggled through the back end of his tenure.

Pérez’s resurgence in 2022 was more of a pleasant surprise considering his further decline in the three years after he left the Rangers following the '18 season. He went on to spend a year in Minnesota and two in Boston, where he struggled to a 4.88 ERA over those three years. Pérez threw 114 innings with a 4.74 ERA with the Red Sox in ‘21, and he was sent to the bullpen midseason.

While it’s unlikely Pérez will repeat his breakthrough 2022 season, the Rangers are hoping he’s closer to that than his career 4.43 ERA. With starting pitchers consistently struggling to go deep into games, Pérez’s quality starts and ability to go seven innings almost every time out are more than useful for any ballclub.

Texas' rotation figures to include Gray, Pérez, Odorizzi and two of Dane Dunning, Glenn Otto and Cole Ragans.

“I trust my stuff, and I believe in myself,” Pérez said. “I feel 100% that it's going to be a better year next year. I know how to pitch now. I’m going to do my job. I'm going to get people out, to let them know that I'm ready to be here for a couple more years. But now, I just want to focus on next year and see how everything's going to be.”