Carlos Perez was brought in just a week before the 2023 season to mark his five-year return back to the MLB level, and he was everything the A’s asked for and more out of a backup catcher until a midseason injury slowed his momentum down. Now, Perez is back in free agency.
Perez was signed on March 19, 2023, to a minor league contract. This marked his second stint with the organization after playing in Triple-A Las Vegas in 2021.
What were the expectations?
Perez was signed to be the A’s backup catcher behind Shea Langaliers after an injury forced Manny Pina to begin the season on the injured list. A nine-year MLB veteran, Perez was also one of the oldest and most experienced players on the young squad.
Perez had a career-high in AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS, and home runs in far fewer games than his previous high in 2023. Perez also had one of the largest line drive percentages on the team, 25%; higher than teammates like Brent Rooker and Langaliers. He also provided value on defense by catching 255 innings and playing first for 59 more while also recording two errors. A fractured left thumb put Perez on the IL in early July and he was used more sparingly for the A’s upon his return down the stretch, and his numbers were also down post-injury. Perez elected for free agency on October 16.
What went right? What went wrong?
Much more went right than wrong for Perez in 2023 considering the circumstances. In his first big-league action since 2018 while being signed by the A’s just a week before the season, Perez was a very serviceable backup catcher until his injury. He was also one of the most stellar A’s on defense according to errors and fielding percentage especially while patrolling one of the sport's most demanding positions. The only thing that really went wrong was his lengthy IL stint that slowed him down at the plate midseason.
Perez will certainly get another MLB chance in 2024 albeit possibly with a different team. The reigning Athletics Heart and Hustle Award winner had a resurgent 2023 and has shown value on both sides of the ball. Could and should the A’s take another chance on the 32-year-old to back up for another season?