The MLB Hot Stove is heating up, and top-notch players like DJ LeMahieu and George Springer are signing with ball clubs. Naturally, the Red Sox have made their own set of moves. Although they are becoming known as the “Interest Kings,” the Red Sox have made their share of phone calls. They landed under the radar players like Hunter Renfroe and Matt Andriese but lost out on Charlie Morton, Corey Kluber, LeMahieu, Springer (alright, I’ll stop, but seriously this list is like Don Quixote and War & Peace had a baby). The Red Sox recently resigned starter Martin Perez to a one year deal. While Perez’s marginal success on the mound helped the Red Sox, his impact goes far beyond as a leader.
Martin Perez: The Pitcher
The Venezuelan left-hander Martin Perez had one of his best seasons since 2016. In his first year in Boston, Perez started 12 games and won 3 of them with a 4.50 ERA. A closer examination shows that the team’s innings leader in 2020 also had a 104 ERA+. Unfortunately for Perez, this above-average performance resulted in a 3-5 record for his 12 starts. It should also be said that three wins rank second on the team during this disappointing 2020 season.
Nobody should be confident that he will repeat this production outside of a 60 game season; however, if he can be average or just below average this season, he can be invaluable in the back end of the rotation. Keep in mind that the Red Sox will have Eduardo Rodriguez and their ace Chris Sale returning this season. Additionally, they have new signings like Garrett Richards and prospects such as Tanner Houck and Nick Pivetta, who will get their chance in the rotation. In other words, Perez doesn’t need to be brilliant; he needs to play his role for him to be successful.
Martin Perez: The Leader
While Martin Perez has proven to be a serviceable starter in the back of a rotation, his approach to the game will serve the Red Sox well as they attempt to bring in a new core of pitching. Throughout his career and particularly his time in Boston, Perez has been a leader in player accountability. How many baseball players do you know that will openly go online and admit that they weren’t at their best that day? Or to thank the fans for supporting his start? There aren’t many.
Today was a great #PerezDay 🔝— Martin Perez (@MartinPerez54d) September 13, 2020
I feel very happy for this W and once again thanks for sharing your excitement and support on #PerezDay. That always encourages me to move forward and give all my best. I’ll see you next #PerezDay
Also, great win @Patriots🔝
LET’S GO PATS!💪🏻 pic.twitter.com/aibP3G0H4s
If Perez can impart this mentality on young pitchers like Tanner Houck or really just the rest of the staff, it can have a tremendous effect on the Red Sox in the future. Perez’s attitude has attracted the attention of Red Sox media and, by extension, the fans. A large sect of the fanbase has now come to love Martin Perez and are thrilled to see a guy with this devotion to the game return. He is one of the few that understands that baseball is entertainment and that he owes the fans his very best. If more players started to act like this, it could only lead to more fan interest and engagement and even more money for the team. That’s why it is a no brainer to bring in a positive influence like Perez.
The Red Sox should be very happy to have a pitcher like Martin Perez return to the organization.
It seems crazy to me that in one season fans went from confusing Perez with the former chair of the DNC to celebrating every start. That’s a great thing about Boston, if you love us we’ll (probably) love you back. Perez certainly wasn’t setting the world on fire with his 4.50 ERA in 2020. But what he lacked in skill, he made up for in honesty. Fans have proven to go crazy for this level of character and self awareness, that’s no longer a question. If Perez can lead by example and teach his teammates to show this to fans happy days are on the horizon.
For now we will wait until the first #PerezDay of the 2021 season.