Mark Melancon was the choice to take over in the bottom of the ninth after the Red Sox scored twice in the top of the inning to tie up today’s game against the Tigers. He went on to get one out and then give up two singles, after which he was pulled in favor of Alfredo Aceves. Unsurprisingly, he wasn’t too happy about it. Somewhat surprisingly, he didn’t manage to cover that up in the postgame interview, though he did recover quickly.
Asked whether the hook came quick, Melancon responded:
Yeah, it did. It felt a little quick. But that’s not my job. My job is to get outs and I didn’t do that. I’m not going to think any more about that. I’m just going to continue to try to get outs and get after it.
Melancon spent most of last season as a closer, and he was used to getting opportunities to bail himself out of his own jams in Houston. Valentine didn’t show that same kind of faith in him today, turning to Aceves at the first opportunity. It didn’t work out, either, as Aceves went on to hit a batter and give up a game-ending single, tagging Melancon with the loss.
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.