11-30-21 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter
The worst kept secret in the Pittsburgh Pirates to do list was to find an MLB catcher to replace the surprising trade of Jacob Stallings. Today they found their man, Roberto Perez on a one year deal worth 5 million dollars.
He’s a career 7.5 WAR player but 2019 was really his best year and it isn’t close. He played in 119 games and hit 24 homeruns for an OPS of .774. Every other season he hasn’t topped 73 games, essentially a backup role for the Cleveland Guardians, who chose not to pick up his 7 Million dollar option this season and enabling the Pirates to pick him up.
Considered to be a defensive dynamo he’s been as bad with the bat as he’s been good with the glove. 2019 is such an outlier it’s almost hard to take it seriously.
The Pirates certainly can’t claim this move made them younger at the position, Perez is a 33 year old (By season’s start) but it’s fair to say he doesn’t have a starter’s mileage on him either. A career .206 average with an under .300 OBP the real upside with Perez is his glove evidenced by his two seasons as a starter 2019 and 2020 being Gold Glove winners.
So what can we expect? Well, solid defense. I’d be a fool to sit here and tell you he’s going to repeat his 2019 performance again but once you’ve seen the power in there it’s hard to shake the possibility he can find it again. Basically, take the win that the Pirates found a way to replace the defense they just moved, with a trusted glove who knows how to help develop pitchers.
I’d also say, the return for Jacob Stallings has to be viewed with this addition in mind, and here’s why. This can’t be characterized as a salary dump because they’re literally paying an inferior player more than Jacob would have received. So I’d have to assume this means Ben Cherington got whatever he was targeting from Miami.
That doesn’t make me like it any better, but perhaps reinforces that this wasn’t a Nutting move, it was a Cherington deal, so the return is on him. If it works and the Bucs secured some pieces that work out while bringing in a bridge to whoever wins the Pirates system catching race, great. If it doesn’t they literally traded a loaf of bread for a week old loaf and paid for the pleasure.
We shall see, but at least we won’t enter the darkness of this potential lock out wondering if the Pirates plan to use a cardboard cutout behind the dish.
More to come…