Martin Perez’s rookie season impressed the Rangers enough that they’ve signed the 22-year-old left-hander to a long-term contract.
Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that it’s a four-year deal worth $12.5 million in guaranteed money that also includes team options for 2018, 2019, and 2020. Perez was already under team control through 2018 anyway, so this pre-pays for the rest of his minimum-salaried and arbitration-eligible seasons while also giving the Rangers the ability to delay his free agency by two additional years.
It’s a lengthy commitment to a 22-year-old pitcher with all of 162 innings in the majors and Perez’s strikeout rate has been underwhelming since reaching Triple-A, but he’s long been considered one of the best pitching prospects in baseball and posted a 3.62 ERA in 20 starts as a rookie.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.