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Elephant Rumblings: A’s bring in catching depth, add Carlos Perez

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MLB: Oakland Athletics at San Diego Padres Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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With the recent news that backup catcher Manny Pina would begin the season on the injured list, the Oakland A’s decided to beef up their catching depth, signing veteran Carlos Perez to a minor-league deal for the coming season. He was then assigned to minor-league camp.

It’s been a while since the 32-year-old Perez saw major-league action, last appearing in the bigs all the way back in 2018 (for the Braves and Rangers). He did make it into 86/87 games in 2014/‘15 respectively, though, and is a career .215/.257/.319 hitter with 11 career bombs in The Show.

He’s not being brought in for his bat, to be sure. He’s generally been considered a solid defender behind the plate and has a terrific 38.4% caught-stealing rate. Perez spent last season with the Colorado Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate and put up an impressive season, hitting .254/.341/.524 with 31 home runs.

The only caveat is that Albuquerque is in the PCL, a notoriously hitter-friendly league that Oakland’s own Triple-A team is also in. In fact, Perez spent the 2021 season with Las Vegas and had a very similar slash line as last year, even hitting exactly 31 home runs for the Aviators that year.

With such little time left in camp before the end of Spring Training, it might be a stretch for Perez to be considered for the backup job on Opening Day. His biggest competition in camp is Yohel Pozo, who only has 21 games of big league experience compared to Perez’ 212. Pozo hasn’t done much this spring, racking up just three hits in 14 at-bats. Another thing to consider is that another team might release a catcher due to end of spring roster cuts, and the A’s could be interested in one of those teams catchers. Perhaps they wouldn’t have to look that far, either, as the San Francisco Giants look like they could let go of either Austin Wynns or Roberto Perez.

All that said, even though Pozo has been catching A’s pitchers all camp, it’s not like Perez isn’t familiar with some of the staff after spending 2021 in the Oakland organization. If Pina’s injury lasts longer than expected, the A’s don’t add any other catching options, and Pozo doesn’t perform well in his role as backup to starter Shea Langeliers, Perez could certainly be a candidate to take over that role. A lot of ifs, but certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

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