Former Cleveland Guardians catcher Roberto Perez signs with Pittsburgh Pirates

Roberto Perez #55 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Roberto Perez #55 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
Cleveland Indians, Roberto Perez
Roberto Perez #55 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Former Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez is moving to the National League after signing a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

When Roberto Perez was due to make $7 million this year on a team option, it was clear the Cleveland Guardians wouldn’t be bringing back their catcher – at least not at that price.

The 32-year-old Perez is officially moving on to another organization now, as he signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates Tuesday. He’s been hampered by injuries the past few seasons, but when healthy, he’s one of the best defensive catchers in the game (and he’s literally the best at throwing out runners – he held the highest caught stealing percentage from 2015-20). Not to mention he’s a master at framing pitches and handling a pitching staff; his catcher ERA (3.55) was also the best in that same 2015-20 span.

The two-time Gold Glove winner spent eight seasons with Cleveland, putting together his finest season in 2019, when he hit .239/.321/.452 with 24 home runs, 63 RBIs and a 102 wRC+ in 389 at-bats while winning the Gold Glove and the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award.

Most Cleveland fans will also remember Perez for his heroics during the 2016 playoff run, especially in Game 1 of the World Series when he hit two home runs and drove in four runs in the then-Indians’ 6-0 win over the Chicago Cubs.

But Perez was hampered by injuries throughout 2020 and 2021, ranging from shoulder strains to a broken ring finger from getting crossed up on a James Karinchak pitch. If he can stay healthy, the Pirates should be getting a good deal.

As for the Pirates, they are in need of help at the position after trading Jacob Stallings to the Marlins this week. Pittsburgh picked up three players for the 31-year-old Stallings, who is a Gold Glover himself – right-handed pitcher Zach Thompson, pitching prospect Kyle Nicolas and outfield prospect Connor Scott.

It’s been a big day for former Cleveland catchers, as Yan Gomes also agreed to a two-year, $13 million contract with the Cubs (and new general manager Carter Hawkins).