2/19/08 Washington Nationals Sign Veteran Lefty Odalis Perez...A Veteran Lefty, Huh?

     Odalis Amadol Perez was signed as an Amateur Free Agent by the Atlanta Braves out of Damian Davis Ortiz High School in Las Matas de Farfan in the Dominican Republic on July 2, 1994, and after just 39 starts over 4 seasons in the Braves' system, the 6'0'' 150 lb left-handed Odalis Perez's Major League debut came on September 1, 1998.

     In 10 games and 10.2 innings of the '98 season, Odalis Perez posted an (0-1) record with a 4.22 ERA, and Perez made his first Postseason appearance that year, earning his first Playoff win with 0.2 innings of work in the top of the tenth inning of a 2-1, extra-inning Atlanta win in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Chicago Cubs.

     Perez's second Postseason appearance didn't go as smoothly, as the San Diego Padres took advantage of four singles, an error, a sac bunt and an intentional walk to put two runs on Odalis Perez in just 0.1 IP. (For those counting that's a 54.00 ERA).

     After going (11-15) in 33 starts over two more seasons with Atlanta, on January 15, 2002, Odalis Perez was traded along with pitcher Andrew Brown and outfielder Brian Jordan to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the man with the angriest swing in baseball...outfielder Gary Sheffield.

     In his first season in Los Angeles in 2002, Odalis Perez, then 24, was (15-10) with a 3.00 ERA in 32 starts with 4 complete games, two shutouts, 155 K's and just 38 walks over 222.1 innings for the Dodgers. Over the next three years in LA though, Perez was a combined (26-26) with 343 K's but ERA's of 4.52, 3.56 and 4.53, respectively, from 2003-05.

     In July of 2006, with a (4-4) record and 6.83 ERA in 59.1 innings for the Dodgers, the second trade of his career sent Odalis Perez to Kansas City, along with Minor Leaguers Blake Johnson and Julio Pimentel, for right-handed pitcher Elmer Dessens.  

     After making $8,750,000 pitching for the Dodgers in 2006, and taking home $7,750,000 in the '07 season for 26 starts with the Royals over which Odalis Perez was (8-11) with a 5.57 ERA, the thirty-year-old lefty waited until after Spring Training started before he finally signed a Minor League deal with the Nationals today that will pay him $850,000 dollars plus incentives should he make the rotation, and at least 20 starts, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article on the signing entitled, "Nats sign pitcher Perez to Minors deal."

     Though Odalis Perez collected just 8 wins in 26 starts last season, Mr. Ladson puts the signing in perspective for Nationals' fans, writing in his article:

          "Those eight wins not only tied for ninth among American
          League lefties, they matched reliever Jon Rauch's win total.
          Rauch led the Nationals in victories."

     Perez's signing gives the Nationals' three left-handed starters, along with Matt Chico and John Lannan, who will receive serious consideration and be competing with right-handed starters John Patterson, Jason Bergmann and Shawn Hill for the five spots in the starting rotation, and with Patterson and Hill coming off surgeries, Chico and Lannan both entering their sophomore seasons, and Bergmann himself just 28 starts into his MLB career, the veteran lefty Perez could be a valuable edition to the DC pitching staff.

     After three years of right-handers like Esteban Loaiza, Ryan Drese, Zach Day, Sunny Kim, Ramon Ortiz, Pedro Astacio, Jerome Williams and Jason Simontacchi, maybe a veteran LEFT-handed starter like Odalis Perez is the way to go?

*Odalis Perez Links*

Odalis Perez's career stats at thebaseballcube.com:

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/P/odalis-perez.shtml

Odalis Perez's career stats at baseballreference.com:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/p/perezod01.shtml

MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article, "Nats sign pitcher Perez to Minors deal", at washington.nationals.mlb.com:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080219&content_id=2379511&vkey=sp t2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

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