Friday, July 12, 2013

Trade Target: Oliver Perez

Over the next few weeks, the Atlanta Braves will likely be attached to just about every bullpen-for-hire talent on the market.  The good money is on the Braves making a trade regardless of how well their bullpen has actually pitched.  Relying on Anthony Varvaro, Luis Ayala, David Carpenter, and Alex Wood at the back-end of the bullpen is worrisome.  While Atlanta has reason to feel confidence with the rest of the pen, you can't overuse those guys every time the Braves have a lead.  Somebody else has to be there.

Enter Oliver Perez.  But wait, he totally sucks! 

Time for you to get away from that rock you must have been under for the last year.  Once a former super prospect who failed tremendously in New York, Perez has been resurrected as a reliever for the Seattle Mariners.  It was just over a year ago that Perez made it back to the majors for his first game since October of 2010.  He had not been overly dominant at Tacoma before his mid-June callup and expectations were low.

However, Perez found success.  During his reign as a former starter, Perez was exposed.  He held back, lowering his average fastball velocity to around 90 mph while supplementing a subpar changeup to give him a third pitch.  The results continued to worsen to the point that Perez's career prospects had become rather bleak. 

After a year in the Nationals' system, Perez signed with the Mariners and once he got promoted, he has been a force in the bullpen.  In 65.2 ING, Perez has a 1.20 WHIP, 10.1 K/9, and a 2.96 K/BB.  His average fastball velocity is back to 92.7 - 93.7 mph and he throws a good slider 30% of the time.  Most of his best production has occurred this year.  While throwing 36 ING, Perez has performed to the tune of 12.5 K/9 and a 3.03 xFIP. 

As expected, Perez has always been tough on lefties.  This year, they are OPSing .558 against him after OPSing .675 against him last season.  However, what goes unnoticed is that Perez has respectable numbers against righties, too.  .632 OPS this year, .575 OPS last year  He does struggle with his walks a bit more against righties, but a 2.9 K/BB rate against righties this season is still a good number, especially considering how difficult of a time lefties have against him.

Perez's track record seems sure to impact his market, as is his pending free agency.  Grabbing Perez now would help fill out a bullpen with a good arm and with any luck, the package would be minimal.  The fit is perfect.  Make it happen, Frank Wren!

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