Pirates agree to terms with LHP Martin Perez, sources say

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Pirates added another veteran left-hander to fill out their starting rotation, agreeing Monday with Martin Perez on an $8 million, one-year deal, sources told ESPN, confirming multiple reports.

The agreement with the 32-year-old, who won a World Series with Texas in November, is pending a physical, according to The Associated Press.

Perez becomes the second left-handed starter to join Pittsburgh in recent weeks. The Pirates acquired Marco Gonzales from Atlanta for $100,000 on Dec. 5, a trade in which the Braves are sending Pittsburgh $9.25 million to cover most of the $12 million salary Gonzales is owed next season.

There is plenty of room in the rotation for the Pirates to add, with Mitch Keller the only surefire holdover from last year's group after Johan Oviedo underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last month.

Pittsburgh is eyeing another step forward in 2024 after going 76-86 this season, a 15-win improvement over 2022 and the franchise's best mark since 2018.

Perez went 10-4 for the Rangers last season, going 10-4 with a 4.45 ERA in 35 games, 20 of them starts. He moved from the rotation to the bullpen in August and made three relief appearances in the playoffs -- all in mop-up duty -- as Texas won its first World Series title. His salary is less than half the $19.65 million he earned this year after accepting the Rangers' qualifying offer.

The Pirates are trying to build rotational depth in the minors but it remains a work in progress, one of the reasons they have looked outside the organization for help at the big league level.

Perez is 85-81 with a 4.44 ERA in his 12-season big league career for Texas (2012-18, '22-23), Minnesota (2019) and Boston (2020-21). He was an All-Star in 2022, when he finished 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA.

The arrival of Perez and Gonzales give the Pirates a couple of experienced arms to pair with Keller, an All-Star for the first time in 2023. Other possible players that could fit into the rotation in 2024 are Quinn Priester, Roansy Contreras, Bailey Falter, Andre Jackson and Luis Ortiz, with 2023 top overall pick Paul Skenes likely getting a chance to see how ready he is during spring training.

JT Brubaker, Pittsburgh's opening day starter in 2022, could also be back after recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Gonzales was traded to Atlanta by Seattle on Dec. 3, and the Mariners agreed to send the Braves $4.5 million next Aug. 1. That means Gonzales will in effect cost the Braves $4.75 million, the Mariners $4.5 million and the Pirates $2.75 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.