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Odalis Perez Signs Minor League Deal

Odalis Perez is coming back to the Nationals, and his second stint is beginning with circumstances similar to his first. The Nationals today signed the left-hander -- their Opening Day starter in 2008 -- to a non-guaranteed minor league deal, providing Perez with the chance to compete for a spot in the starting rotation. Terms of the deal were not immediately available.

In Perez's first season with Washington, he fulfilled almost all of the team's expectations. He started 30 games and pitched 159-2/3 innings, both third best on the staff. Overall, he went 7-12, and the Nationals were 13-17 in his games. His 4.34 ERA was far lower than his totals in 2006 (6.20) or 2007 (5.57). Just days ago, Washington team president Stan Kasten described Perez as having done a "great job" -- particularly given that he was signed in Feburary 2008 to a minor-league deal, mostly as an insurance policy.

That Perez last year rose so quickly to the top of Washington's rotation -- he pitched five strong innings in the March 30 opener at Nationals Park -- spoke somewhat to the deficiencies in Washington's rotation. Still, Perez took advantage of the opportunity. And he even delivered some of the season's more amusing storylines. (Just ask Angel Hernandez.)

This year, Perez will have a more difficult climb into the rotation. Baring injury, John Lannan, Scott Olsen and Daniel Cabrera seem to have locks on starting spots. Collin Balester and Jordan Zimmermann will get the inside shot at the other spots. Plus, Washington will also take a long look at Shawn Hill, Jason Bergmann and Shairon Martis.

By Chico Harlan  |  February 5, 2009; 9:24 PM ET
 
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Comments

Let me be first to say welcome back Perez

Posted by: caese | February 5, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

No, I wanna be first!

Buenos suerte, primo.

Posted by: CEvansJr | February 5, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Terrific signing. Great Bally / zimm insurance. I might have preferred him to D. Cab.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 5, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see the Nats are finally taking advantage of the collusion driven market. I hope they can use that to grab a possible type A or B FA on a short term basis.

Posted by: VT_NatsFan | February 5, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

This is seriously great news.

I remember being pretty peeved last year that he was going to be our opening day starter, but I ate that crow a long time ago. He was rock solid.

1a, I forget, what was the joke last year after he pitched sick and vomitted between innings? Something about blood, sweat and tears?

Anyway, I'm very glad to hear it and I don't doubt he'll pose some stiff competition for the rotation if he puts his mind to it.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 5, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Odalis deserves this. Great News. Good for the Nats. Good for Odalis. He's a professional.

Posted by: natbisquit | February 5, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Good signing. I hope he gets the chance to pitch in the rotation with a healthy lineup behind him.

Posted by: cokedispatch | February 5, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Seven positive posts in a row.

But really, this is a great signing for the Nats.

But honestly - if only to bring nuance to this discussion - Odalis deserved more. His performance last year should have been a redemptive one. It's a downright shame that the market turned out to be what it was. Had 2009 been, say, 2007, Perez would have had himself a guaranteed contract worth more than what he signed for.

That being said, Perez earning a spot in the rotation - and I really mean earning in the truest sense of the word, unlike the default award he was handed last season - should really be a net gain for the Nats. Spring competition is a good thing, and a cork atop a young champagne should encourage vintage.

Odalis threw out the first pitch in a game that should go down as one of the greatest games in Nats history (he should've gone deeper in that game, IMO). Some might use the signing to help settle the argument that we're essentially fielding the same team. But with a minor league deal, it's all reward, no risk.

Great signing. Welcome back, Odalis.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 5, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, John, if makes you feel better, the Lerners are cheap, JimBo is an idiot, we should sign Manny, and Dunn strikes out too much. Feel better? :-)

Posted by: Section406 | February 5, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

This was a we-got-nothing-to-lose signing, bringing back some insurance at virtually no cost. The Mets paid Redding real money, and his stats arguably weren't any better than Perez. No way to knock this.

Posted by: nats24 | February 6, 2009 1:57 AM | Report abuse

LOL!! You covered it all in one sentence 406. Thanks for the laugh.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 6, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

"Well, John, if makes you feel better, the Lerners are cheap, JimBo is an idiot, we should sign Manny, and Dunn strikes out too much. Feel better? :-)"

Nicely balanced. Two positive comments and two negative comments. Can you tell which is which?

Posted by: nunof1 | February 6, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

This makes sense and I like the idea of having a semblance of competition for the starting pitching 5. If Shawn Hill truly is medically ready to pitch this means we have Lannan, Perez, Olsen, Hill and Cabrera as the first five. Zimmermann and Balestar are going to have to have really good spring camps to make the roster. This is as it should be.

Posted by: driley | February 6, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm on board with this signing as well (and I think it may have been something about blood and guts, NatsNut).

Re. the collusion driven market idea, would that be the one where FAs are colluding so as not go to the Nats? :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 6, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

From an aribtration perspective, it might make sense to wait until mid-May to give Jordan Zimmermann a shot at the majors. By holding off until then, the Nationals can delay his arbitration by one calendar year. If he makes the 25-man out of spring training, he is arbitration eligible after the 2011 season. If he joins the 25-man in mid-May, it gets pushed off until 2012.

Some might view this as cheap, but there is value in controlling his contract that one extra year.

Posted by: Brian_ | February 6, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

The more relatively inexpensive veteran pitching depth this team can accrue the better it will be in case a youngster like Balester takes a step back or Zimmermann isn't ready for a step forward. It helps buy time for the younger guys to develop without being traumatized on the major league level.

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 6, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Per the dead-tree edition, Bos had a chat at noon yesterday. Transcript here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2009/02/03/DI2009020302358.html

Also, the team site lists three MASN broadcasts for ST Nats games (March 18 and 25, April 4). As the song says, is that all there is? Perhaps this is because MLB Network plans to broadcast ST games for various teams in February?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 6, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

"a cork atop a young champagne should encourage vintage. " JiM

Who says there is no more poetry on this blog?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 6, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Yay for Perez! Angel Hernandez es un idioto!

Posted by: frog7694 | February 6, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

@1a

As long as the Nats "share" Mr. Angelos's Sports Network, we're probably lucky to get that parsimonious amount of preseason contests. Remember, Peter the Grate isn't selling Nationals' tickets.

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 6, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Good signing. Last year, Perez proved to be a more reliable starter than Carbrera.

Posted by: AshburnVA | February 6, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

This is a very good signing. O. Perez did a solid job last year. Hopefully he makes the rotation out of ST and J. Zim can mature for a least a few months in AAA, and as Brian pointed out above, it would also delay his arbitration eligible date.

Now, if they can get a solid LH bat, be that Dunn, someone else via trade, or make a deal with the devil to keep Nick healthy for 150 games, This team may surprise some people.

Posted by: Section505203 | February 6, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"From an aribtration perspective, it might make sense to wait until mid-May to give Jordan Zimmermann a shot at the majors. By holding off until then, the Nationals can delay his arbitration by one calendar year. If he makes the 25-man out of spring training, he is arbitration eligible after the 2011 season. If he joins the 25-man in mid-May, it gets pushed off until 2012."

Yes, that would be very smart in many aspects. It would give Zimm a little extra seasoning too, plus they need to track his inning-count this year.

Posted by: dclifer97 | February 6, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

That did occur to me, leetee, and the April game happens to be the exhibition vs. the O's.

Also, pardon my fractured Spanish but Angel Hernandez es estúpido.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 6, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@natsfan1a1, you actually did pretty good with your spanish. You only missed one word.

Angel Hernandez es UN estupido

Posted by: FloresFan | February 6, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Cabrera has a "lock" on a rotation spot? Seriously?

Let's see where we stand at the end of spring training on that. Or May. By May, Cabrera may be starting in Columbus, trying to straighten out his control problems.

Posted by: fischy | February 6, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, FloresFan (I like him, too, BTW).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 6, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Meaning Flores, of course. Also, new posts.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 6, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

"That Perez last year rose so quickly to the top of Washington's rotation -- spoke somewhat to the deficiencies in Washington's rotation."

Spoke somewhat??? Whoa. Don't go too far out on that limb there, Chico.

What it spoke was, the Nats starting rotation was a disgrace before their Florida tans started to fade back here in DC. And do we really think this year is better, seriously? We couldn't have added Jon Garland for $7 million and change, just to give the team somebody to stop a losing slide? Instead we've got Daniel Cabrera and Shawn Hill. If Cabrera hits Hill with a wild pitch (very possible, even if Hill is on the bench), Hill will be out until 2012.

Posted by: eyestreet | February 6, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Garland was waiting by the phone so he could jump on that offer.

Having Perez fight for #5 to me seems like an upgrade from him being #1. That being said, it would be nice to have another SP, but outside of Wolf (who won't come here), I don't know of anyone available that could help.

Posted by: goexpos2 | February 6, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

For the 40 extra innings, you can keep Garland.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 6, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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