Seattle Mariners trade candidate: Oliver Perez

USA TODAY Sports

An examination of Oliver Perez and subsequent exploration of his trade value.

It's July and the Mariners are out of contention, which means it's time to start thinking about who will be traded. Since the Mariners are full of expiring contracts, there is a high probability that more than one of these players will be dealt as the July 31st deadline approaches. We'll be taking a look at these trade candidates throughout the month of July

Oliver Perez is in his second season with the Mariners. Perez's career path from burned out starter to dominant bullpen arm has been a revelation for the Mariners, and Perez is enjoying his best season as a reliever.

WHY HE'S ATTRACTIVE

  • Perez has been absolutely terrific in 2013. Here's a look at his numbers to date.
IP K/9 BB/9 BABIP LOB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA tERA
2013 30.2 12.62 4.11 0.318 97.60% 1.47 2.89 3.14 2.61 2.98

Perez's strikeout rate has shot up from last season's 7.28 K/9 to over 12 this season. He's been ridiculous at stranding runners - his 97.6% LOB% is third among all relievers.

  • He dominates both right handed and left handed pitching. Perez is a lefty, but has a reverse split, posting a .261 wOBA vs. RHP and a .278 wOBA vs. LHB in 2013. Perez had similar splits in 2012 (.244 RHB vs. .302 LHB). A key to his success is an effective slider, which Perez uses as a knockout pitch against lefties (47% with two strikes) and righties (36%), and it has a pitch value of +5 wSL, 12th among all relievers.
  • Perez is cheap. Bullpen arms are typically inexpensive to acquire at the deadline, especially ones on expiring contracts. Perez is in the middle of a very affordable one year, $1.5 million contract, so cost won't be a barrier to anybody acquiring him.

WHY HE'S NOT

  • N/A. Perez is the perfect arm to acquire at the deadline for any team looking to beef up their bullpen. The cost will be minimal and he's been excellent. The Mariners will have many suitors.

POSSIBLE INTERESTED TEAMS

  • Detroit Tigers. The Tigers have been rumored to be on the prowl for bullpen help for weeks now, and Perez is a cheap piece that won't require a significant piece in return during their pennant run. The Tigers are searching for a closer, and could even look into giving Perez a shot in the closer role, although Joaquin Benoit has done a great job since taking over.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers have been desperate for help in one of the league's worst bullpens, and have even resorted to Carlos Marmol. The Dodgers bullpen has been worth 0.6 fWAR so far, and Perez is already worth 0.5 fWAR on his own.
  • Cleveland Indians. The Indians have struggled with ineffectiveness and injuries among Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez, and while Cody Allen and Joe Smith have stepped up to help fill the holes, the Indians could certainly look to add another piece to keep pace with the Tigers, who will be searching for upgrades of their own. The Indians bullpen has a 4.17 FIP and has been worth just -0.1 WAR to date.

WHY A TRADE WILL HAPPEN

  • Bullpen arms are always a hot commodity, and Perez is as ideal as they come. Perez is a free agent at the end of the year and may test the market, especially after his success. The Mariners will have many suitors, and could sell high on Perez and snag more for him than they would in a normal year. Injuries to Jesse Crain, among others, make for a thin market of dominant relievers.

WHY A TRADE WON'T HAPPEN

  • Returns for relievers are typically uninspiring. The Mariners got Eric Thames for five seasons of Steve Delabar, who is now dominating in Toronto while Thames is gone. Brandon League brought back Leon Landry and Logan Bawcom, and League had more value given his experience as a closer.
  • The Mariners may choose to simply hold on to Perez and try to extend him unless a bidding war drives his price higher than bullpen arms usually return.

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