The SF Giants reportedly agreed to a deal with Roberto Pérez last week according to Chris Cotillo of MassLive.Com. That contract was finalized on Saturday with Evan Webeck of the Mercury News confirming that it is a minor league deal with a camp invite.
SF Giants News: Deal with 2-time Gold Glove catcher finalized
If Pérez makes the club, he will receive a base salary of $2.5 million. Webeck outlines the potential incentives he could receive as well:
The 34-year-old is a relatively accomplished catcher, winning consecutive Gold Glove awards in 2019 and 2020. He was worth +13.1 Catcher Defensive Adjustment (CDA) and +3.0 CDA in 2019 and 2020, respectively, according to Baseball Prospectus.
His pitch framing has been considered a strength, but he is a good blocker and flashes a quality arm as well.
Health has typically been an issue for Pérez as he has appeared in over 100 games just once in his nine-year career. The 2022 season was no different as the right-handed bat appeared in just 21 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates after sustaining a nagging hamstring injury that ended his season prematurely.
Across nine seasons, Pérez has slashed .207/.298/.360 (75 OPS+) with a 10.8 percent walk rate against a 29.7 percent strikeout rate. While he has been a below-average hitter, that is generally the tradeoff teams are willing to make if the catcher grades out favorably behind the plate.
Before his injury last year, the veteran posted a .233/.333/.367 (98 OPS+) with two home runs, eight RBI, and eight runs in 69 plate appearances.
The addition of Pérez gives San Francisco an experienced backstop in a crop of catchers that are light on it. He joins a competition of Joey Bart, Austin Wynns, and Blake Sabol as the primary catching options in camp.
Bart is the incumbent but his 2022 season was a mixed bag. He struggled to find consistency at the plate and his work behind the plate was not well received as a couple of pitchers preferred throwing to Wynns down the stretch.
It is hard to ignore the fact that the Giants quietly looked for alternatives to push Bart for playing time this winter. This list included Sean Murphy, Gary Sánchez, and Omar Narváez. Plus, they were considered a logical landing spot for Willson Contreras prior to last year's trade deadline.
The Giants want Bart to take over the role at catcher but a little extra competition does not hurt, either. That said, Pérez likely sees an opportunity for playing time if he performs in spring training, so those incentives may not be totally unattainable if he stays healthy.