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Cubs free agent target: Roberto Perez

This could be a good value signing.

Photo by: 2021 George Kubas/Diamond Images via Getty Images

If you, the Cubs fan, have any memories of Roberto Perez, they’re probably from his role as Cleveland’s primary catcher in the 2016 World Series.

Perez didn’t begin that year as Cleveland’s main catcher, but took over in July due to injuries to their starter and remained there through the entire postseason. That included a two-homer performance in Game 1 of the World Series, one off Jon Lester, one off Hector Rondon, as Cleveland won that game 6-0.

Here’s the second of those homers, a three-run shot that was hit 408 feet:

You might be wondering why I danced around the name of Cleveland’s main catcher at the beginning of the 2016 season. That’s because you’re quite familiar with him, too. It was Yan Gomes.

Now, more than six years later, it’s possible this catching tandem could reunite with the Cubs.

Perez’ best year was 2019, when he hit .239/.321/.452 (93-for-389) with 24 home runs and produced 4.0 bWAR. Since then, though, he’s spent a fair amount of time injured and hasn’t hit well when he played. That included a season-ending hamstring injury suffered last May — he played in just 21 games after the Pirates signed him to a $5 million deal hoping he’d be their regular catcher. They paid a $450,000 buyout for 2022, making him a free agent.

Here’s that hamstring injury [VIDEO].

Of course, no one would want the Cubs to sign Perez if he’s not healthy. But if he is, he’s one of the better defensive catchers around. He led the American League in percentage of baserunners thrown out (41 percent) in 2019, and led MLB in 2020 (small sample size, threw out 10 of 14 trying to steal). In 2019, the last year he caught enough to make a pitch-framing ranking, he was fourth of 64 catchers listed.

Perez is a righthanded hitter, so there wouldn’t be an obvious platoon situation with Gomes, but presuming Perez is healthy this could be a good value signing. Perez, who turns 34 on Friday, is about a year and a half younger than Gomes. They were teammates in Cleveland for five years (2014-18). Cleveland made the postseason in three of those five years and guess who was an executive for the team in those years? That’s right, current Cubs GM Carter Hawkins.

I think the Cubs could sign Perez to a one-year, $3 million deal with a $5 million team option or $1 million buyout for 2024.

Would you do that?

Poll

Roberto Perez...

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    ... the Cubs should sign him to a contract like the one proposed in the article
    (476 votes)
  • 5%
    ... the Cubs should sign him, but it will cost more in dollars or years or both
    (36 votes)
  • 25%
    ... the Cubs should not sign him
    (182 votes)
  • 3%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (24 votes)
718 votes total Vote Now