A quick trip to the Baseball Savant page for Cionel Perez shows some tantalizing stuff. His fastball velocity ranked in the 87th percentile among all MLB pitchers last year, the kind of thing that you just don’t normally expect out of a 5’11” left-handed pitcher.
That kind of elite arm talent is what made him a $2 million international free agent signing by the Houston Astros back in the day, for one. It’s also what led the Cincinnati Reds to pick him up despite his obvious command issues, hoping their pitching braintrust could somehow find a way to harness things.
20 walks and 17 ER in just 24.0 IP at the big league level in a Reds uniform later, though, and it appears his career in Cincinnati is over. The Reds announced on Wednesday that Perez had been claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles.
LHP Cionel Pérez today was claimed off waivers by the Orioles.— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) November 24, 2021
The 40-man roster is now at 39. #Reds pic.twitter.com/fk9nzeGNH8
Considering the Reds just loaded up their 40-man roster on Friday at the deadline to protect players from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft, it’s an interesting parallel move. It could well be that Perez was waived that very day and just now got claimed, or it could signal that the Reds saw another player who’d been cut loose by a peer that they wanted on their own roster and waived Perez in order to hopefully free up a space.
Or, more likely, it’s just a procedural move after careful evaluation, one that gives the Reds the kind of roster flexibility to make an addition in the near future.
As The Enquirer’s Charlie Goldsmith noted, it is interesting that Baltimore will be the destination for Perez, seeing as they had top billing on the waiver-claiming ladder given their league-worst record last year.
Now, we wait and see if this newfound roster spot is one that’s going to be filled quickly, or if this was just another move in the offseason overhaul of the Reds roster whose timing matters not.