The Texas Rangers locked up another young player with a long-term deal, and both view it as mutually beneficial.
The Rangers and left-hander Martin Perez agreed to a four-year contract through 2017 with $12.5 million guaranteed. There are three club options at the end of it that could take it through the 2020 season.
“I just want to say thank you to the organization for trusting me and giving me the opportunity to be here for four more years hopefully more,” Perez said. “I want to stay here all my career. I don’t want to forget this moment and this day because I think it’s the most important day of my life.”
Perez received a $1 million signing bonus and will make $750,000 next year, $1 million in 2015, $2.9 million in 2016 and $4.4 million in 2017. There is a $6 million club option with a $2.45 million buyout in 2018; a $7.5 million option with a $750,000 buyout in 2019; and a $9 million option with a $250,000 buyout in 2020.
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Perez could potentially miss out on two free agent years but gets the financial security after going 10-6 with a 3.62 ERA over 20 starts last year as a rookie.
Perez, 22, has spent his entire career with the Rangers organization. He signed as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela on July 2, 2007, and has risen up the ranks since then.
Perez was the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year in 2009 and made his big league debut in the middle of the 2012 season. He went into spring training last year as the frontrunner to win the final spot in the rotation but broke his arm and didn’t get called up until late May.
Once given a regular starting spot last year, though, Perez took advantage of it and proved he was ready to contribute at the big league level.
“We’ve seen him grow as a person and obviously on the mound,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “He’s always had good arm action, good stuff, but he’s put it together and become a pitcher.”
The Rangers now have four starters under club control through the 2017 season in Perez, Derek Holland, Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison. Alexi Ogando is under control through 2016 as well.
“It’s a good feeling,” Daniels said. “To have that talent in the rotation is an unusual position to be in for any franchise, especially for ours where the history has been more of an offensive-dominated club.”
For Perez, it’s an opportunity to put him and his family in good financial shape at a young age. He also mentioned a desire to relocate to the United States from his native Venezuela, a country that has a struggling economy and political unrest.
“My future is here; my future is not in Venezuela,” Perez said. “Just have to work hard every day and tell yourself what you want to do and what you have to do to be a better pitcher.”
Perez went on to say the money wouldn’t change how he went about his business, saying: “I’m going to be the same person. I want to do my best and compete for the World Series. That’s what I want.”