The Boston Red Sox need Martin Perez to be good at his job in 2020.
His former boss believes he's up to the task.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli spoke glowingly this week of Perez, who spent the 2019 season in Minnesota before the Red Sox signed him to a one-year, $6 million contract in December.
“Martin did a nice job for us,” Baldelli said, via Mass Live's Chris Cotillo. “He pitched us to opportunities to win games consistently. He competed very well. He was very open to making adjustments. And he’s a really good teammate. There’s really not much more you could ask for."
Perez's numbers suggest a slightly different story: The Venezuela native posted a 5.12 ERA and 1.518 WHIP in 2019 and allowed four or more runs in 12 of his 29 starts.
But Baldelli believes Perez suffered from some bad luck last season and predicted a bounce-back campaign for the 28-year-old.
"If he continues to do what he has been doing and continues to make the adjustments he has been making, I would anticipate a very nice season," Baldelli said.
"I don’t have all the numbers in front of me but the stuff was really good. He came out of the chute last year throwing the ball pretty incredibly. But I think he’s also still figuring out what he’s capable of and what his strengths are. When he takes advantage of those strengths, he’s certainly going to give his team a chance to win."
Perez did average a career-high 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings last season after adding a cutter to his arsenal and pitched at least six full innings in 15 starts.
The Red Sox will need Perez to eat up innings as their fourth starter after losing David Price and Rick Porcello this offseason. If he lives up to Baldelli's billing, he'll provide much-needed stability to a rotation that's unsettled behind top three starters Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi.