From Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune comes word that the Padres are “close to” agreement on a contract with free agent catcher Gregg Zaun.
Zaun drew interest from the Cardinals and Mariners back in early December, but those talks never went anywhere and he’s been off the radar for the past month-plus. The Cards eventually went with Gerald Laird as their new backup to Yadier Molina and the M’s settled on Miguel Olivo.
Zaun, 40 in April, was hampered by a serious shoulder injury last season in Milwaukee and batted just .265/.350/.392 with two home runs and 14 RBI while making only 117 plate appearances.
He’s better than those numbers, but not by much.
The veteran will have to battle Rob Johnson and Guillermo Quiroz during spring training for the No. 2 gig behind starting catcher Nick Hundley. If Zaun doesn’t succeed, it’s likely that he might consider retirement.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Twins have picked up free agent left-hander Martín Pérez on a one-year deal. Financial terms of the deal have yet to be announced, but it looks like a club option is included for the 2020 season. The Twins have not officially confirmed the signing.
Pérez, 27, missed 85 days of the Rangers’ 2018 campaign after undergoing elbow surgery on his non-throwing arm. He sustained the injury partway through the 2017 offseason; as the story goes, he was charged by a bull at his ranch in Venezuela and fell on his right arm as he was trying to get out of the animal’s path. (He later killed and ate said bull.) When he finally returned to the mound, he cobbled together a 2-7 record in 15 starts with a 6.22 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 5.5 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR through 85 1/3 innings out of the rotation and bullpen.
As they approach the start of the 2019 season, the Twins will be looking for something a little more, well, bullish from Pérez. Prior to his injury, he turned in two solid seasons with the Rangers in 2016 and 2017, nearing the 200-inning threshold in both campaigns and providing a combined value of 4.2 fWAR at a time when Texas’ starters collectively ranked sixth-worst in the league.