Potential Twins Bullpen Trade Target: Oliver Perez, LHP Cleveland
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY SportsOliver Perez, LHP, 37-years-old
Cleveland Indians ( in AL Central)
Vesting option in 2020 for $2.75M if he reaches 55 games in 2019.
2019: 4.50 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 12.15 K/9, 1.35 BB/9 in 20.o IP
2018: 1.39 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 11.97 K/9, 1.95 BB/9 in 32.1 IP
What’s to Like?
This would be a long shot since teams typically don’t make trades within their division and they’re also competing for a Wild Card spot, but Oliver Perez would be a perfect buy-low candidate as his 4.42 ERA doesn’t look pretty.
Perez's peripherals would suggest some progression coming his way as opposing hitters' exit velocity, hard hit and barrel rates are all below the league average while his K rate and expected weighted on-base average (xwOBA) are above the league average, per Statcast. Furthermore, Fangraphs has his FIP in the low threes and his SIERA in the high twos, which gives you an indicator of how poor Cleveland is defensively.
The vesting option will most likely be met, as he’s already at 28 games. That means he’ll be with the team next year, although $2.75M is not much to quabble over. His four seamer, which he throws 14.5 percent of the time, has been the cause of his inflated numbers as batters are slugging 1.071 off the pitch whereas it was literally .000 in 2018, per Statcast. There hasn’t been a drop in velocity so that’s not a concern, but he has thrown the fastball in the strike zone, and more importantly, in the middle of the strike zone more than last year which could be the reason for hitters success.
This is an option that should be cheap if they are available but can still effective pieces and an improvement over the bottom half of our bullpen. Also, I’d like to think that pitch location is something that can be overcome with an adjustment in pitch mechanics or different pitch sequencing.
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