Once lefthander Martin Perez officially becomes a Twin, the club intends to give him every opportunity to make the team as a starter.
Perez and the Twins have agreed to a one-year contract worth $3.5 million, and the deal should be made official this week. First, Perez first has to pass a physical and the Twins have to make room on their 40-man roster. But he is expected to be on board in time for TwinsFest this weekend.
Perez, 27, is coming off a 2018 season in which he was 2-7 with a 6.22 ERA for the Rangers and missed two-and-a-half months with right elbow soreness. He was 23-23 with a 4.60 ERA in 65 starts over the two previous seasons, so the Twins are looking for Perez to rebound and stabilize the back of the rotation.
Texas declined a $7.5 million option on Perez’s contract, making him a free agent, and the Twins had him targeted for several weeks. General Manager Thad Levine knows Perez from his time with the Rangers, when he was the assistant general manager.
While making a winter caravan stop at the AMF Southtown Lanes in Bloomington on Monday, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli credited Levine for helping land Perez.
“Thad did a great job,” Baldelli said. “I think his relationship with Martin really helped us get ahead in this situation. Thad knows a lot of people.”
Perez potentially adds a lefthander to a rotation that also includes righthanders Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda. Pineda spent last season completing his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery and is expected to be ready to contribute.
Perez also could end up making a few a starts as an opener, pitching an inning or going through the batting order once before relievers take over.
The move isn’t the best news for several pitchers who looked to be in competition for the final rotation spot. Righthanders Zack Littell, Chase DeJong, Kohl Stewart and Fernando Romero and lefthanders Adalberto Mejia and Stephen Gonsalves all made starts for the Twins last season. Some will be used for rotation depth. Others could be converted into relievers. The club has acknowledged that Romero could move to the bullpen, and Mejia could be a candidate as well.
The Twins will continue to monitor the free agent market for relief help, but indications are that they like the options they already have.
Coaches land jobs
Three Twins coaches who were let go after the 2018 season have hooked on elsewhere.
Former third base coach Gene Glynn will be a roving minor league baserunning instructor for the Marlins, and former first base coach Jeff Smith will manage Class A Port Charlotte in the Rays’ chain. They were two of five coaches who were not brought back for 2019. A third, Jeff Pickler, landed a spot on David Bell’s staff in Cincinnati in December, as the game planning/outfield coach.