Former MLB reliever Oliver Perez was ready to play out the 2022 season with the Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican League and then retire.
At least those were the plans, according to the always reliable MLB Trade Rumors.
But something must have happened along the way, because he has a locker in the Arizona Diamondbacks‘ clubhouse in spring training.
The information was confirmed by AZ Central and Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro on Monday.
“Oliver Perez sighting in the Diamondbacks clubhouse. He has a locker. Perez says he is in camp on a minor league deal,” Piecoro tweeted.
Perez says he is in camp on a minor league deal.
— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) March 21, 2022
It appears the 40-year-old reliever found a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training at the last minute, and he intends to take advantage of the chance.
An Effective Left-Handed Reliever Is Looking For One Last Chance In The Majors
Perez, for the most part, has been a reliable left-handed reliever during his major league career.
He has alternated starting with bullpen duties, and has a career 4.34 ERA in 1,461.2 innings.
His control hasn’t always been on-point, but he has struck out 9.51 hitters per nine innings, which is awfully impressive because it represents more than a batter per frame.
In the last few years, Perez was more than serviceable for the Cleveland Guardians.
His ERA finishes in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 are 1.39, 3.98, 2.00, and 0.00, although he pitched just 3.2 innings in 2021.
Adding up his innings total of those four recent seasons, he has pitched 94 very solid frames.
He is not a difference-maker anymore, and his best years are certainly behind him.
But he is talented enough to win a spot in the Diamondbacks’ mediocre bullpen, so if he is in shape, that should be the most likely outcome.