Yesterday general manager Walt Jocketty called the Reds’ lack of moves this offseason “very frustrating” and now it’s safe to assume failing to sign Josh Willingham played a part in his disappointment.
Willingham inked a three-year, $21 million contract with the Twins and during his press conference with the Minnesota media the 33-year-old outfielder revealed that the Reds were the other team he wanted to play for.
Cincinnati was linked to Willingham, but there were never any reports of the two sides being particularly far along in negotiations and in fact it seemed as though the Indians represented the Twins’ primary competition before dropping out of the running earlier this week.
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.