MLB Rumors

Rangers “Likely” To Give Martin Qualifying Offer

Rangers "Likely" To Give Martin Qualifying Offer

The Rangers and left-hander Martin Perez have voiced hope of working out an extension since this summer, but with the team’s five-day exclusive negotiation window nearing its end, a multi-year deal isn’t close, Jon Morosi of MLB.com tweets. Texas is “likely” to make a qualifying offer to Perez if a multi-year deal can’t be agreed upon, Morosi adds.

A $19.65MM qualifying offer for Perez would’ve seemed unthinkable not long ago, but the 31-year-old lefty parlayed his one-year, $4MM Rangers reunion into a legitimate case for a multi-year deal in free agency (and, thus, for a possible QO). Perez ranked tenth among all big league pitchers with 196 1/3 innings pitched in 2022, and his career-best 2.89 ERA ranked 14th among qualified starting pitchers (and 23rd among the 140 pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched).

Perez’s breakout comes on the heels of a five-year stretch that saw him pitch to a 5.05 ERA in 611 2/3 big league innings for three different teams (Rangers, Twins, Red Sox). Despite persistently lackluster results, he continued to receive Major League deals in free agency, inking one-year pacts with the Twins, Red Sox and Rangers along the way. That, coupled with Perez’s longtime standing as one of the game’s premier pitching prospects (albeit more than a decade ago), suggested that teams see a bit more to him than his rudimentary numbers might otherwise indicate.

In 2022, Perez at last made good on those repeated shows of faith, but the reasons for his breakout are more subtle than other pitching breakouts we’ve seen in recent years. Perez didn’t add a lethal new breaking pitch, nor did he enjoy a pronounced spike in his velocity.

Rather, Perez made alterations to the same five-pitch mix on which he’s relied for some time now. This season’s 36.9% usage rate on his sinker was his highest since his last run with the Rangers in 2018. His 27.7% usage rate on his changeup was a career-high — but only by a matter of a couple percentage points over his 2020-21 levels. Perez has largely scrapped his four-seamer (6.5%) and curveball (3.5%), using them as show-me offerings that complement a heavier three-pitch reliance on his sinker, changeup and a cutter he implemented with the Twins in 2019. Neither the four-seamer nor the curveball, however, were prominently used pitches for Perez in recent seasons anyhow.

The biggest contributing factors to Perez’s success in 2022 might be ones that teams have a hard time buying into….

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