The Cincinnati Reds announced this afternoon that they acquired left-handed pitcher Cionel Pérez from the Houston Astros in exchange for minor league catcher Luke Berryhill.

Cionel Pérez initially signed with the Astros as an international free agent in September of 2016 for $5.1M. But that contract would be voided in October after something popped up in a physical. He became a free agent once again, but re-signed with Houston that December for a $2M signing bonus. As a 21-year-old he spend his first year as a professional in the minors, pitching in Low-A, Advanced-A, and Double-A while in the Astros farm system. In 2018 he moved up to Double-A and Triple-A, pitching well while splitting his time between the rotation and bullpen. He made his big league debut that year in July, and he’s seen some limited action with the Astros in the Major Leagues in each of the last two seasons, too. In total he’s thrown just 26.2 innings across the 2018-2020 seasons for the Astros. He’s allowed 17 runs in that stretch, posting a 5.74 ERA with 24 hits, 15 walks, and striking out 27 batters.

Cionel Pérez throws a fastball, slider, and a change up. His fastball has averaged 95.2 MPH in his big league career, topping out at 98 MPH. It’s labeled as a 4-seam fastball, but it’s a low spin pitch – averaging just 2139 RPM (league average today is around 2250). That’s going against a bit of what the team has focused on in recent years, but there’s more to a pitch than just the raw spin rate, too. His slider has worked in the low-to-mid 80’s in his career. The change up works in the mid-to-upper 80’s.

His control has been a bit of an issue in the upper minors and in the majors. In 160.1 innings across the Double-A, Triple-A and MLB levels he’s walked 72 batters. That’s a 4.04 walks per 9-innings pitched rate. That’s a bit higher than you would like it to be. In the Major Leagues that is 5.1 and is going to need to come down from there if he’s going to be any sort of reliable pitcher.

If needed, Cionel Pérez could spend time in the minors working to improve that control. He has one option remaining. According to Baseball Reference he is under team control through the 2025 season, though that could change depending on how much time he were to spend in the minor leagues moving forward.

Cionel Perez Career Stats

More on Luke Berryhill

The Reds traded catcher Luke Berryhill to Houston in the deal. In 2019 he was selected in the 13th round out of South Carolina, where he hit .271/.382/.538 for the Gamecocks. After he signed, the Reds sent him to rookie-level Greeneville in the Appalachian League. He only played in eight games there, hitting .240/.344/.400 with more walks, five, than strikeouts, four. There was no 2020 minor league baseball season, so that was the most recent data we have.

29 Responses

  1. Redsvol

    I love picking up young, cheap relief pitchers. Add enough of them and your coaching staff will turn one into a gem. If they don’t work out, no harm. Reds have had a spotty track record of bringing in experienced bullpen pieces. And those typically cost real money.
    Seems like Krall remembered how Krivsky used to “churn em and burn em”. Krivsky eventually found some players that other teams had given up on because he turned the roster over so frequently.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I agree. If one or two of these fringe pitchers they have picked up this off-season turn into effective contributors, then it was a good strategy.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        A quick check shows that almost every one of the pitchers they have picked up during this off-season has options remaining. So these are pitchers they can develop further in the minors if they don’t make the big-league team. I don’t think that pattern was random.

    • Aaron B.

      Good ol’ Krivdawg he sure did like to burn and churn good way to describe his style.
      I remember he went on to be assistant GM for Brewers and Mets haven’t heard anything about him in recent years, I wonder what he is up to.

      • TR

        The Mets GM office recently became available.

  2. RedsGettingBetter

    It seems Derek Johnson and Body are going to have a lot of work to do this season…

  3. Klugo

    Have needed Lefties. That’s for sure.

  4. west larry

    How many Perez’s are we going to have on the pitching staff? no more than ten please.

    • TR

      The Reds need as many as possible who can keep the ball in the park.

  5. Stock

    The Reds seem to be trying to corner the market pitchers who throw at 95+ named Perez. Maybe next they can corner the market on outfielders named Acuna.

    This is the most trades for replacement level pitchers for as far back as I remember. Hoffman, Garcia, Perez and Perez. I am really hoping they see something in these four.

    • RedsGettingBetter

      Brandon Bailey and Noé Ramirez are in this trading group too

    • Hotto4Votto

      Seems they’re all in on revamping the relief corps with reclamation projects. Probably not a bad idea considering how volatile relievers tend to be year to year outside of a few top guys. I like the comment above about Krivsky’s churn and burn style. Back end of bullpen can still be solid with Garrett, Lorenzen, and Antone, but it’s also likely one of the righties ends up in the rotation. Between DeLeon and Perez they now have some upside lefties to add to the mix.

      • Hotto4Votto

        For some reason I thought DeLeon was LH. He’s not. Brain fart.

  6. BK

    The Reds have done a nice job of augmenting the 40-man roster with low-risk, low-cost acquisitions. Perez fills a need and is young enough to reasonably expect continued improvement.

  7. RedAlert

    Now make a move with some relevance …..uhhhh maybe like the shortstop issue

  8. MK

    Berryhill could become a big time country singer and his catching pedigree was positive. All in all a worthwhile move.

  9. Greenfield Red

    Weren’t the Reds in it right to the end with the original signing out of Cuba? I seem to remember that.

    • Doug Gray

      They were certainly talked about as one of the teams trying to sign him. I don’t recall off of the top of my head just how close it seemed to be near the end, though.

  10. JayTheRed

    Red winning strategy for 2021.. HOPE!!!

    Lol… Is the scrap heap and minor league signings over with yet…. I sure hope one or two of these guys can pan out for help in the bullpen in the big leagues.

  11. Glenn Allen

    This is not a bad tactic. They still have the 40 man roster spot for a SS. They are claiming off waivers or trading with teams that need Roster spots. The Reds are able to get some young players with option years left.

  12. MBS

    According to Baseball Perspectus, C. Perez has no remaining options. If that’s right then we have acquired several pitchers with 0 options.

    C. Perez, Hoffman, Ramirez plus our 2 of our own guys, Romano, De Leon. Ramirez is the only one of that group, that is not to be a big question mark heading into the 21 season. If all of those 5 guys make it, our bullpen will be full of guys who can’t be taxied up and down 71. Garrett, Sims, and Antone are safe bets not to be sent back and forth. That’s 5 rotation and 8 bullpen.

    If I remember correctly when the roster was increased to 26 men, they limited the roster space to a maximum of 13 pitchers.

    • Doug Gray

      Fangraphs shows that he has one remaining. I haven’t dug deeper into the situation. I’ll try to remember to do so later when I have a few minutes to do so.

      • Doug Gray

        So I found the reason we’re seeing different things.

        Usually players get 3 option years. He’s used three option years. But, he qualifies for a 4th option year because they will be used up within his first 5 professional seasons.

        If a site is using just the “three options” rule, then it’s going to spit out that he’s out of options.

      • MBS

        That’s good news, having at least one slot of flexibility is good, 2 is better, but 0 is bad.

    • BK

      Per his official bio on the Reds website, C. Perez has been optioned 3 times already (2018, 2019, and 2020). He spent at least 20 days on assignment to a minor league team each time. However, 2021 is only his fifth season since signing with the Astros in December of 2016. Per MLB’s online glossary that explains minor league options,

      “Players typically have three option years, but those who have accrued less than five full seasons (including both the Major and Minors) are eligible for a fourth if their three options have been exhausted already.”

      Accordingly, I believe C. Perez has one option remaining as 2021 will be his fifth full season.

  13. Michael B. Green

    We’re getting close to a complete team. Hopefully the bullpen is enough. Maybe you add one more. I would imagine that we are just going to focus on SS now though. Our 40MR should have 7 members: Votto, Moustakas, Suarez, Garcia, Farmer, Blandino, and a free agent SS. Farmer and Blandino are out of options so we will want to have IF signed to minor league contracts that can start at AAA but get the call if there is an injury, etc. Enter Cuthbert, Errol Robinson and Alfredo Rodriguez (and Wilson Garcia, the Rule 5 pick-up). India will get called up at some point this season and he will take someone’s 40MR spot. Barring a trade or 60D DL event, that may point to Farmer or Blandino. CIN does not have to make that decision right now though and it gives them added depth by waiting for the dust to settle. It also gives all of those listed plenty of opportunities. All of this should allow Jose Garcia to start at AA and force his way up in 2021 and look to try to serve as the OD SS in 2022. I hope CIN signs Simmons to help with our below average IF defense metrics. One year deal is perfect and it allows him to reset his value for 2022. Great hitters park for him with tons of production around him. Possible post season showcase too.

  14. Roger Garrett

    Non harm in stock piling arms.Bullpen pieces are just that because they sometimes fit or don’t fit.Outside of the elite closers that pitch one inning to close out the game its a crap shoot every year to see who has it and on what day.You can’t have enough of them because like the starters that are on a pitch count,relievers rarely go no more then an inning per appearance.