Martin Perez night has finally arrived. It might seem like his opportunity has already come since this will be his second stint with the Texas Rangers this season, but there were many questions surrounding that call-up and in all reality not much was riding on the situation.
When Perez was first called up at the end of June, news broke on Twitter and everyone questioned who he was replacing as well as if he was entering the rotation or heading to the bullpen. Many felt he was replacing Justin Grimm who was coming off of a poor start in his second big league outing, but eventually it was known that he was replacing Colby Lewis who was heading to the 15-day disabled list.
Perez ended up working out of the bullpen as well as making two starts, combining flashes of brilliance with lots of mediocrity. Essentially it was what he has shown at Round Rock and Frisco over the past two seasons, but there were many positives and he held his own in the rotation for the most part. When Perez was called up last time, everyone knew it was just until the Rangers started getting pitchers back and there was not anything long-term tied to it. This time is a similar situation, but could turn out a bit different.
The Rangers now know that they have lost Colby Lewis for the remainder of the season and while everyone expects them to go get a starter via trade, that is not a guarantee. What is a guarantee is that Perez has the opportunity in Arlington on Tuesday night to remind everyone who he is.
Martin Perez is a name that most Rangers' fans know. For what seems like years now, he has been expected to one day be the ace of this staff. He was the one that everyone drooled over and was just a few years ago the #17 prospect for Baseball America. Since that time, most of the players ahead of him on that list have graduated to the big leagues, while Perez has dropped further and further down that list. However, it is important to remember that he is still just 21-years-old and a bright future can still be ahead of him. He is still very young and there are many reasons he could have struggled over the past two seasons, all that matters now is that he performs tonight.
Tonight he has the biggest stage he has ever seen and the opportunity to remind the Rangers and the rest of baseball of his potential. Perez is one of the most likely names to be traded over the next week, but tonight could influence that in many ways. He has the opportunity to show he belongs in the Rangers' long-term plans, but he can also greatly influence his trade value. He can show everyone what he can do against big league hitters and that could impact his trade value in either direction.
For the most part, teams know how they value Perez and one more big league start will not change that, but teams will most certainly be watching, with the Rangers front and center. The Rangers know that Perez has his opportunity and Perez knows he has the opportunity. The question that remains is will he take advantage. The Rangers need him to do so, on many, many levels.
John Bowman is a lifelong baseball and Texas Rangers fan that loves to ponder the deeper aspects of the game. Some of his first baseball memories involve Arlington Stadium nachos, Charlie Hough's knuckleball, dirt on Pete Incaviglia's uniform and the voices of Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel as he fell asleep.