There are so many words to describe this turnaround story Martin Perez has authored. Remarkable, unbelievable, improbable, fantastic, fictional.
Here’s a guy who proved the old baseball adage, if you’re lefthanded, you can always find a job. That was his only asset. He certainly wasn’t what anyone would call a successful major league pitcher.
Like anyone who makes it to this level, he had the talent, and showed it quite often. But more often, he showed the ability to just fall apart. In the middle of a game, he would have a meltdown inning and never recover. Or he’d pitch five or six really good games in a row then invariably follow that up with six or seven clunkers.
Basically, he couldn’t be trusted.
But he was left-handed so he kept getting the ball every five days. When the Rangers finally lost their patience with him after seven uninspiring seasons, he went to Minnesota for a season of struggling, then to Boston for two uninspiring seasons.
He was a free agent in the offseason before 2022 and, the fact he signed a one-year-deal for just four million dollars tells you nobody was beating down his door. The Rangers, ever desperate for starting pitching, brought him in with zero expectations of anything other than filling in the back end of the rotation and getting them through this year so they could do their customary dumpster dive for arms for next year.
Perez was their number five starter to begin the season.
How everything has changed. Martin Perez has started twenty games this season. The Rangers are 15-5 in those games. They’ve won fifteen games he’s started and forty-five games total. He’s responsible for one third of the Rangers victories.
You can’t get a much more perfect definition of an ace than that. His seven innings of one-run, three-hit domination over the Angels was the latest example. He struggled at the end but gritted it out and gave the Rangers one more inning, preventing the Rangers wobbly bullpen from a chance to cave. Last night’s 7-2 win takes his record to 9-2, drops his ERA to 2.52, and makes him a prime candidate to be traded at the deadline.
Everyone needs pitching. Add to that the fact that he’s pitching like an ace, and the price for Martin Perez will be very high.
The trade deadline is Tuesday. If last night was, indeed, Martin Perez’s last game in a Rangers uniform this year, he certainly did the uniform, and the organization, proud.