Time has an incredible ability to alter our perception of things. Just a month ago, we learned the Texas Rangers would be bringing 2022 ace Martin Perez back for 2023 on the one-year qualifying offer worth $19.65 million.
At that point, it seemed preposterous to give Perez that much value on an annual basis, even for just one year and despite coming off a career season that included an All-Star nod. This is still a pitcher with a career 4.43 ERA, after all.
Well, I’ve come back to tell you that this deal looks pretty solid in retrospect for the Rangers. No, I don’t know what Martin Perez is going to do for an encore in 2023, but I do see the way the free agent market for pitching has unfolded, and it sure has become costly to secure upgrades.
The Martin Perez qualifying offer is looking more and more like a solid deal for the Texas Rangers
Just take the recent news that Chris Bassitt is signing with the Toronto Blue Jays for three years and $63 million, or $21 million annually, for example. That’s a hefty price tag for a third starter, although he’s durable. Taijuan Walker got $18 million a year from the Phillies over four years. Jameson Taillon got four years and $68 million from the Cubs. Even oft-injured Mike Clevinger is getting $12 million for one year from the White Sox! Overpay after overpay.
You might be sitting here and asking yourself if the Texas Rangers overpaid for a pitcher themselves in Jacob deGrom. But deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball, so his $185 million over five years is worth every penny. You can’t say the same about Chris Bassitt, Taijuan Walker, Jameson Taillon or any pitcher in that tier. And better yet, these deals also make the Rangers’ signing of Andrew Heaney for $12 million per year over two years a relative steal.
Circling back to Martin Perez and his $19.65 million for one year after seeing all of these other developments should make Rangers officials thrilled with their efforts. And they’re not sacrificing the long-term to bring Perez back, either, which ensures continued flexibility. I pegged Texas with a “B” grade for the signing, and I might be tempted to raise them a half-letter grade now as a result of what has unfolded, bringing it to a “B+”.
What seemed like an overpay initially now seems to be a market-value deal for Martin Perez and the Texas Rangers. It’s hard to complain about that.