Although it wasn't immediately reported, the Oakland Athletics have re-signed catcher Carlos Perez to a one-year, minor league contract.
Perez played in 68 games for the A's in 2023, serving as Shea Langeliers' backup behind the plate and getting innings at first base as well. He slashed a dismal .226/.293/.357 with 6 homers and just 20 RBI in 189 plate appearances.
A fractured thumb in July relegated Perez to the IL for 44 days. He returned in mid-August but received just 14 starts in the season's final six weeks. His previous contract expired at the end of the 2023 season and he became a free agent.
The biggest thing Perez can provide to the 2024 A's is his veteran experience
By all accounts, he's a strong clubhouse presence and his leadership can be valuable in a locker room filled with younger players. Despite those strengths, Perez is a dead spot in the lineup.
As it stands, Langeliers and Tyler Soderstrom are the only catchers on the 40-man, and Soderstrom likely doesn't have much of a future as a defensive backstop. The A's have a few players close to MLB-ready in Kyle McCann, Yohel Pozo, and Daniel Susac. All three received non-roster invites to major league spring training.
McCann and Pozo both played for the Triple-A Aviators in 2023. McCann posted a .270/.351/.474 line, while Pozo hit .306/.338/.523. Per Fangraphs, Susac is the 3rd ranked prospect in the A's system. He spent the majority of last year at High-A, hitting .303/.373/.437.
Susac might not be ready but both McCann and Pozo would seem to be. If either were to make the roster out of spring training, the A's would likely need replacement depth in the minors. It's possible Perez was brought back with that in mind.
It would admittedly be a bit disappointing to see Perez make the A's roster and block one of the younger guys. Whatever leadership and defense he does provide is basically negated by his inability to hit. He's entering his age-33 season, isn't getting any younger, and has zero upside.
We'll see what happens in the spring. All we can hope for is that the organization gives both McCann and Pozo a fair shot to win the job. It would be surprising if neither of them were deemed capable of backing up Langeliers.
If Perez's role is to serve as minor league depth and as a potential injury replacement, then it seems like a fair move bringing him back. If the plan is for him to serve as Langeliers' primary backup, that seems like a waste of a roster spot in my opinion.