Roberto Perez has inked a one-year, $5 million dollar deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the upcoming 2022 season, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.
Perez was the Guardians 33rd Round Pick back in 2008 and spent eight seasons at the big-league level with Cleveland. Now 32 years old, Perez battled finger and shoulder injuries in 2021, hitting just .149 over 44 games. His best season with Cleveland came back in 2019 when hit a career-high 24 home runs and captured his first of two gold glove awards.
Earlier this month Cleveland declined Perez's $7 million team option, making him a free agent. Perez now joins a Pirates team who traded away their 2021 starting catcher Jacob Stallings to the Marlins on Monday.
The Guardians currently have two catchers on their 40-man roster in Austin Hedges and top prospect Bryan Lavastida. The organization also recently signed veteran catcher Sandy Leon to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.
Perez has been given credit in helping many of the young pitchers on the Guardians staff today achieve early success at the MLB level. His game calling and all defensive abilities have been praised countless times by manager Terry Francona and first base coach and catching instructor Sandy Alomar Jr. through the years. The pitching staff was widely considered the best rotation in baseball several times during his tenure and he helped Corey Kluber earn the 2017 Cy Young Award.
Perez exits the organization the winner of two gold gloves, earning them in back-to-back seasons in 2019 and 2020. One of his greatest highlights with the organization came during Game 1 of the 2016 World Series vs the Cubs, during which he hit two home runs in helping lead Cleveland to a 6-0 win and a 1-0 series lead.