Cionel Perez, a left handed pitcher from Cuba, had his contract voided with the Houston Astros yesterday. The 20-year-old had a medical issue come up that warranted the voiding of the deal, though what the issue was, isn’t known just yet.
The Cincinnati Reds were one of the teams that were rumored to be in on the lefty before he signed with the Astros for $5.15M. He’s a guy who has been noted to sit in the low 90’s with his fastball and touches 95 regularly. He also shows both a slider and curveball to go with a change up.
Perez is a bit undersized and there are some concerns that he’s got some control issues he needs to work through, but he’s got legit stuff even if that’s eventually going to play out of the bullpen instead of the rotation.
As a 17 and 18-year-old in the Cuban professional league he was dominant when it comes to ERA, posting a 2.44 ERA in 2013 and then lowering that to 2.06 in 2014. In both seasons worked as a starter, making 28 starts and two relief appearances. He threw a total of 139.0 innings. In total he had 61 walks and 100 strikeouts, but in 2013 as a 17-year-old he had more walks, 29, than strikeouts, 25. As an 18-year-old he improved, walking just 32 batters (7 intentional) to go with 75 strikeouts (all intentional – jokes, I need more of them).
At this point it’s unknown if he’s still going to be negotiating exclusively with the Astros, but if he’s going to open things back up to other teams and the Reds can find some change in the couches, it may be a good “low buy” situation. Obviously that depends on both the injury that caused the contract to be voided as well as the new price. Since the organization is already over their pool limit, they will have to pay Major League Baseball a full 100% tax on whatever they pay any player that they sign.