Starting pitcher free agent options dwindle as Martin Perez signs with the Pirates

It's ironic that the day my article about the Rangers bringing back Martin Perez was published, he would sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates. With Perez leaving the Rangers, the free-agent starting pitcher options are dwindling. What will the Rangers do now with two months until pitchers report for Spring Training?
Oct 28, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddox talks with starting
Oct 28, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddox talks with starting / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Texas lost out on one of the free agents they were pursuing when Martin Perez chose to sign a one-year and $8 million contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. With Perez going to the Pirates, the remaining starting pitching free-agent pool is decreasing. The Rangers need to sign one with Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer out through mid-season with injuries. Let's take a look back at Perez's 2023 season and pitching options for the Rangers.

Martin Perez Memories: 5+ innings starting streak

Perez joined a unique group of Rangers pitchers during his first start of the season. Perez went 5 2/3 innings against the Philidelphia Phillies which was his 31st consecutive start where he went five or more innings. That is the longest by a left-handed pitcher in Rangers history. That first start followed up a dominant 2022 season that saw him represent the Texas Rangers in the All-Star game.

Martin Perez Memories: Making a big sacrifice for the Rangers

The Rangers made two big trades at the deadline last season trading for Jordan Montgomery, Chris Stratton, and also trading for Max Scherzer. Montgomery and Scherzer are very good starting pitchers and someone had to go to the bullpen to make room for both of them. After starting 20 games in 2023, Perez was demoted to the bullpen. Perez took the new role like a champ and it played a part in helping the team he came up with win its first World Series.

Martin Perez Memories: Pitching options

The Rangers should turn their attention to re-signing Jordan Montgomery and possibly signing Blake Snell. I know the Rangers are looking at Josh Hader but with the current injury situation, they need to look at starting pitchers instead of closers.

Snell won the 2023 NL Cy Young award and is just the seventh pitcher to win the Cy Young in both leagues. Montgomery needs no introduction since he helped the Rangers win the World Series. With Perez on his way to Pittsburgh, the Rangers need to focus on signing either or both pitchers.

In conclusion, Perez signed with the Pirates because he would be coming out of the bullpen for the Rangers in 2024. He wanted to be a starting pitcher in 2024 and Pittsburgh can give him that opportunity. Rangers fans will always be grateful for Perez's sacrifices and contributions to the club in the 2022 and 2023 seasons I wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors as he continues his career in Pittsburgh.

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