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Pirates Claim (Juan) Perez From Mets

The Pirates have claimed minor league reliever Juan "Don't Call Me Oliver" Perez from the Mets and added him to the 40-man roster. Perez had a 2.86 ERA with 53 strikeouts and 34 walks in 63 innings for Class AAA Norfolk. He'll head to Class AAA Indianapolis, where he'll join a number of relievers the Pirates have acquired recently, including Jonah Bayliss, Jesse Chavez and Brian Rogers.

This move is worthy of its own thread chiefly because Perez is now on the Bucs' 40-man roster. There's really no reason to get excited or upset about it - the Pirates just don't have a lot of talent to protect, so it isn't as if Perez is taking someone else's space right now. With Tom Gorzelanny on the shelf, Kip Wells in Texas, B.P. Chacon looking scary-bad, a young rotation in need of rest and a lot of relievers piling up appearances at an alarming rate, the Bucs probably figured they'd need more depth. They'd probably be better off going with Bayliss or Rogers or Scott Strickland or, well, somebody else, but I guess I can't blame them for acquiring depth at no cost.

Perez strikes out a lot of batters, but he has control problems, which have led to some mediocre ERAs for him in the minors. At 27 (the Baseball Cube says he's 24, but they appear to be wrong about that), there's not a ton of potential for him to become an above-average reliever. About the only things Perez has going for him a nice fastball and an ability to pitch in multiple-inning stretches. I suppose that latter ability could come in handy, as Perez may be called on to soak up innings for the Bucs after rosters expand in a few days. Unless he's great, he probably won't be kept on the roster this winter over a higher-upside reliever like, say, David Davidson.

In the meantime, the Pirates appear to have cornered the market on marginal relievers. Need a player to pitch 50 innings and put up a 5.00 ERA? The Pirates have a guy or three for you! It's all part Dave Littlefield's evil plan:

STEP 1: Hoard a jillion middle relievers and utility infielders.
STEP 2: ????????
STEP 3: Win!