Left-hander Martin Perez has agreed to a $12.5 million, four-year contract with the Texas Rangers that could be worth $32.55 million over seven seasons and puts four of their starting pitchers under contract through at least 2017.
The 22-year-old Perez got a deal Thursday that includes three club options through 2020.
Perez was 10-6 in 20 starts this season, matching Oakland's Dan Straily for the most wins by an American League rookie. After starting the season on the disabled list because he broke his left forearm in a spring training game, Perez was recalled on June 22 and got all of his wins. He was the first Texas rookie to win six consecutive starts and went nearly two months between losses.
"Part of our long-term plan is to identify the best talent and best makeup guys, best workers that we have in the organization, and try to make sure to keep that core together as long as possible," general manager Jon Daniels said. "This is a really mutually beneficial deal in our minds. Martin gets security and a lot of money for a young man his age early in his career, and we get cost control and hopefully the comfort knowing that we've got a young quality, high-side left-hander in our rotation for years to come."
Perez originally signed with the Rangers as a 16-year-old undrafted free agent from Venezuela.
Perez got a $1 million signing bonus. His 2014 salary will be $750,000, then increase to $1 million, $2.9 million and $4.4 million over the successive seasons. The Rangers have a $6 million option for 2018 with a $2.45 million buyout. If Texas exercises that it gets a $7.5 million option for 2019 with a $750,000 buyout. And if that's exercised, the Rangers get a $9 million option for 2020 with a $250,000 buyout.
"I can focus and play baseball and learn something new every day to be a better pitcher, and a better person. That's what I want," Perez said. "My future is here."
Daniels said the Rangers have seen continued growth in Perez as a pitcher and person.
The young pitcher also impressed Daniels during discussions about the new deal, when Perez unprompted said the money wouldn't change him and that he'd work even harder. He also talked about long-term goals.
"From a management standpoint, that's all you can ask," Daniels said.
Rangers ace Yu Darvish, along with left-handers Matt Harrison and Derek Holland are also signed through at least 2017. Like Perez, Harrison and Holland have options for additional years.
Alexi Ogando, another starter, is eligible for salary arbitration this winter but is still under club control for three more seasons. Daniels expects a conversation with Ogando about a one-year deal.
"To have four guys of that calibre and plus with Alexi, to have that talent in that rotation, that's an unusual position to be in for any franchise, especially us," Daniels said. "It's a good feeling. ... Things happen, there are no guarantees. But I'll take my chances to have that kind of ability and makeup and youth that's already had success pitching at the big league level."