The Twins and former Texas left-hander Martin Perez have finalized a one-year contract that guarantees $4 million, Minnesota’s first offseason acquisition for the rotation.
Perez gets a $3.5 million salary this year, and the Twins have a $7.5 million option for 2020 with a $500,000 buyout. The option price could escalate to $8.5 million based on innings this year. He also could earn $500,000 in performance bonuses this season.
The 27-year-old made 128 starts over the last seven seasons for the Rangers, who exercised a $750,000 buyout on his contract on Nov. 2, allowing him to become a free agent.
Perez went just 2-7 with a 6.22 ERA in 22 appearances in 2018, including 15 starts. He didn’t bounce back from surgery on his non-throwing elbow, an injury that occurred last winter when he was startled by a bull on his ranch in Venezuela and fell on his arm. Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his left elbow limited Perez to 22 starts over the 2014 and 2015 seasons. He went 23-23 with a 4.60 ERA and a team-leading 65 starts for the Rangers over the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Twins starters had a cumulative 4.54 ERA last season, just 22nd in the major leagues. Over the last 10 years, they’ve never placed higher than 16th, with an average ranking of 24th.
Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson and Jake Odorizzi are expected to anchor the rotation in 2019, but there’s room for Perez to join them. Michael Pineda, who sat out the 2018 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, will be given every opportunity to earn a spot. Stephen Gonsalves, Zack Littell, Adalberto Mejia and Kohl Stewart also figure to be in the mix in spring training.
To clear a roster spot, the Twins designated right-hander Chase De Jong for assignment. De Jong was acquired from Seattle during the season and went 1-1 with a 3.57 ERA in four starts for the Twins.
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