The Houston Astros have signed Cuban LHP Cionel Perez…again.
The Astros originally signed Cionel Perez to a $5.15 MM contract in September, but the agreement was scratched because of a supposed medical issue per report. It was never specified what exactly the issue was, but the Astros didn’t feel right about something. They voided what was a franchise breaking deal for an international signing.
Today they have signed Perez to a reported $2M deal per Jesse Sanchez at MLB.com. It’s interesting that the two sides were able to reach a deal after the odd circumstances that led to the split. Because of the lapse in time, the Houston Astros saved $3.15 million to add Perez to the organizational depth.
Perez is 20 years old and is listed as the number 4 international prospect. His fastball sits between 92-95mph and has drawn comparisons to a smaller Cole Hamels. Per MLB.com, at best, Perez projects to be an impact starter in the middle of the rotation. At worst, he could be a left-handed reliever that comes out of the bullpen throwing hard fastballs.
While this won’t likely be an immediate impact, this is another piece of a massive international investment that the Houston Astros have made in the past year. Houston has spent beyond their international bonus pool allotment and will have to pay overage tax. Brian McTaggart says the team can’t sign an international player for more than $300,000 for the next two signing periods.
Why did he return to the Astros? McTaggart said that he could have made more on two other teams. Because of Perez’s situation after signing with the Astros the second time, he would be subject to next year’s Rule 5 draft unless protected on the 40-man roster. Perez said that this helped him make his decision to return to Houston. He currently ranks as the 15th top prospect in the Astros system by MLB Pipeline.