SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Oliver Perez had always thought about pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“Every time when we go see basketball (games at US Airways Center) we also go past the stadium (Chase Field),” he said. “I always tell my wife, ‘What do you think if I played right here?’ It can be perfect because right here is my second home. This can be perfect I think for anybody who lives around here.”
Living five minutes away from Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, near to Tatum Boulevard in Paradise Valley, Perez arrived at the perfect scenario Monday when he and the D-backs finalized a two-year contract.
It was important, he said, to be close to home because his wife is expecting their second child.
“(Tuesday) is going to be 40 weeks,” he explained.
Meanwhile, it was important for the D-backs to add another arm in the bullpen, especially a left-handed arm.
“We feel in our ballpark power kind of plays, not only with the bats but also with the arms,” GM Kevin Towers said. “To have a power left-hander now in our bullpen…it was something that we needed. It was an area we wanted to upgrade and we feel we’ve done it with Ollie.”
Perez, 32, was 3-3 with two saves and 3.74 ERA (22 earned runs in 53.0 innings) in a career-high 61 relief appearances for the Seattle Mariners last season.
He began his 11-year career as a starter, but made the transition to reliever when he joined the Mariners in 2012.
Perez said he now prefers coming out of the bullpen.
“It’s kind of more fun,” he said. “When you’re a reliever you’re normally going in a key situation. Your team is going to win or your team is going to lose. For me this is very exciting.”
Perez, according to Towers, is good against both left- and right-handed hitters allowing him to pitch multiple innings plus he holds runners on base and fields his position well.
He likened him to Brad Ziegler in that Perez can throw from different arm angles and could be used anytime in the sixth, seven, eighth or ninth innings, a bonus against hitters in the NL West.
“It’s nice to have a power left-hander for Carlos Gonzalez (of the Rockies), for Adrian Gonzalez (of the Dodgers), you turn Chase Headley around in San Diego, turn (Pablo) Sandoval around in San Francisco and (Brandon) Belt. Hopefully we’ve achieved that,” Towers said.