Is Joe Thatcher's Job At Risk With Arizona Diamondbacks Signing Oliver Perez?

By Casey Gagnon
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In a continued effort to bolster their bullpen for the upcoming MLB season, the Arizona Diamondbacks plan to sign free agent pitcher Oliver Perez.

Giving the bullpen a makeover has been one of Towers’ top priorities heading into the 2014 season. The Diamondbacks tied the league lead for most blown saves in 2013, and their bullpen surrendered more home runs than any other in the NL. With newly-acquired Addison Reed expected to assume closing duties, Perez’s role would be to provide the team a solid left arm in middle relief.

Signing Perez might hint a vote of no confidence in Joe Thatcher, another southpaw originally projected to handle the task. Thatcher’s numbers last season weren’t poor by any means (3-1 overall record with 2.10 ERA in 50 appearances), but his performance thus far in Spring Training is said to be of concern to both Towers and the coaching staff, who don’t want a repeat of last year’s seemingly non-stop bullpen blunders.

Perez is an 11-year MLB veteran who spent the last two seasons with the Seattle Mariners. In 2013, the 32-year old native of Culiacan, Mexico pitched 53 relief innings, finishing the season with a 3-3 overall record and 3.74 ERA. He also posted a nearly 3:1 strike out to walk ratio.

Perez has also completed stints with the New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres. Ironically, when the Padres signed Perez to his first pro baseball contract in 1999, Towers was the GM in San Diego.

Casey Gagnon is an MLB and NHL writer for based in the Phoenix area.  You can follow him on Twitter @SportsCasey, “like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

See if Thatcher can hold onto his job or if Perez can steal it away in Spring Training by getting you DBacks tickets here.

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