Mariners sign Oliver Perez to Minor League deal

Former Mets pitcher Oliver Perez signed a Minor League deal with the Mariners and will get an invite to Major League camp. (Getty Images)

Nine-year Major League veteran pitcher Oliver Perez has signed a Minor League deal with the Mariners as a non-roster invitee to training camp, the club announced Wednesday.

Perez, 30, was a 15-game winner for the Mets in 2007 and has a career 58-69 record with a 4.63 ERA with the Mets, Padres and Pirates.

On the day the Rangers were signing Yu Darvish to a six-year, $60 million deal that brings their total commitment in him more than $111 million with the posting fee, this move will draw scoffs from some trying to relate the two. They’re not related, of course, other than by the coincidence of happening on the same day.

Perez’s signing is simply another in the normal offseason list of moves all teams make in bringing Major League veterans to camp on Minor League deals in order to provide depth and see if anybody clicks. In Perez’s case, he was a quality Major League starter earelier in his career before going sideways the past few seasons.

The left-hander struggled after signing a three-year, $36 million deal with the Mets in ’09 and was released last year with $12 million still owed after going 3-9 with a 6.81 ERA the previous two seasons.

Perez didn’t pitch in the Majors last season, spending the entire year in the Nationals organization with Double-A Harrisburg, where he went 3-5 with a 3.09 ERA in 16 games, including 15 starts as he worked on regaining his control.

He pitched 23 games in relief for Tomateros de Culiacan in the Mexican Winter League this off-season, going 0-2 with a 0.63 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings while holding opposing hitters to a .157 average.

So the Mariners will see if he’s re-discovered something and has life left at age 30. If not, this was a no-risk move.

Perez was with the Mets from 2006-10 and compiled a 29-29 record with a 4.71 ERA in 101 games, 91 starts. He made two starts in the National League Championship Series for the Mets in 06, going 1-0 with a 4.63 ERA against the Cardinals.

Perez originally signed with the Padres in 1999 and pitched in the Majors with them in 2002-03 before going to the Pirates from 2003-06. He was 12-10 with a 2.98 ERA with the Pirates in ’04 and then went 15-10 with a 3.56 ERA with the Mets in ’07 and followed that with a 10-7, 4.22 season in ’08.

1 Comment

As I wrote about Perez after his whole season at Harrisburg…”watching him day in and day out coach first base and interact with his teammates and coaches, I can tell you the guy loves playing baseball and has as much fun doing it as he can. Unfortunately for him, throwing fastballs that only top off in the high-80s won’t get him a return ticket to the show any time soon.”

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