Johan Santana reported feeling fine during a weekend bullpen session after leaving Thursday’s start with a strained pectoral muscle, but the Mets have decided to skip his turn in the rotation tomorrow anyway.
Dillon Gee will instead make his MLB debut against the Nationals, but Santana made it very clear he could pitch if, say, the Mets weren’t completely out of contention:
I wanted to go out and pitch. I could go, but they said no. If this was a different situation, no question, I’d be pitching. I know what pain feels like–believe me–and this is not even close to what it was back [when he pitched through a knee injury in 2008]. But I understand they want to be very careful. If that’s the right thing to do, then we’ll do it.
Between the Mets’ poor season and his underwhelming 11-9 record Santana’s outstanding performance has generally been overlooked. He’s thrown the fourth-most innings in the league with 199 and ranks 10th with a 2.98 ERA, but has gotten stuck with a no-decision six times while allowing zero or one run.
The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.
Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.
While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.