SPENT 2011 SEASON WITH AA-HARRISBURG BATTLING ARM PROBLEMS
The Washington Nationals made their first significant move of the offseason, picking up left-handed reliever Oliver Perez. The 34-year-old veteran signed a two-year, $7 million contract to help stabilize the Nats much-maligned bullpen.
This is Perez’ second stint in the organization. He played with AA-Harrisburg while trying to battle arm issues, never reaching the major league level with the Nats.
Since then, he’s rediscovered his velocity and has had several productive seasons. Last season for Arizona and Houston, Perez was 2-4 with a 4.17 ERA and 1.317 WHIP with 11.2 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. He was much more effective against left-handed batters, limiting them to a .185/.235/.283 slash, while righties hit .310/.417/.465.
His K-rates the past three seasons have been 12.6, 11.7 and 11.2, which is exactly what one wants to see from a situational reliever.
At one point in his career, Perez was a quality left-handed starter for the Mets, compiling a 15-10 and 10-7 records in consecutive seasons. But arm issues soon got in the way, and he had to reinvent himself as a reliever.
The Nats still have several issues in the bullpen to iron out, especially the Jonathan Papelbon-Drew Storen dynamic., but adding Perez should allow new manager Dusty Baker to utilize last year’s revelation, Felipe Rivero, in several different scenarios, with Perez handling the situational lefty stuff.