You’ve seen the Price is Right, right? One of the best parts of the show is when the host yells, “come on down!”
For the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2022, it seems like a whole parade of catchers has had to come on down. The Pirates have used eight different catchers.
One of those catchers was Roberto Perez, or “Bebo,” as he is known in the clubhouse.
The Pirates took a rough blow May 11 after placing Perez on the 60-day injured list, effectively ending any shot of Perez coming back in 2022.
Before Perez’s hamstring injury — which required surgery — seemed to have the pitching staff under control and was also feeling good at the plate. Granted, Perez wouldn’t wow anyone with bat, but he put up good enough numbers.
“Man, I was having a good year,” Perez said. “I knew what kind of player I was when I was healthy. I was getting on base. I was hitting the ball hard. I started to feel better at the plate and leading the pitching staff. I thought we were pitching very well.
With a history of injury issues now on the 33-year-old’s record, he may be hard pressed to find a club that would take the risk of signing him for the 2023 season. The one thing that may be Perez’s saving grace is he plans to play winter ball this upcoming offeseason.
“We think that it’s a good idea for Perez to play winter ball, and it should line up perfectly with the timeline we have for him,” Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said on his weekly radio show Sunday on 93.7 The Fan.
With all of the underlying factors, it may behoove Perez to come back to Pittsburgh. There isn’t going to be much competition for the starting job, though rookie Jason Delay is showing he can be a viable backup. Catcher of the future Henry Davis won’t be considered for the opening day roster after having his season curtailed at Double-A Altoona because of a wrist injury.
Perez is willing to re-sign.
“I want to come back here,” Perez said. “When I say come back here, come back to Pittsburgh. I feel like I owe them another year of me. I love it here. Great organization. They have treated me well. I love the coaching staff. I love the people around them. The players. The front office. They have been so good to me, and I feel like I owe them. Hopefully I’ll be back.”
During his radio show, Cherington made sure to leave the door open on the possibility of bringing Perez back. Cherington said that “we will see,” which seems to be one of the most basic answers a general manager can give, but we will indeed see what the Pirates want to do as 2023 draws near.