Martin Perez will return to the Red Sox starting rotation, which is in need of depth with so many question marks. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

The Red Sox are bringing back Martin Perez after all.

After declining the left-hander’s club option in November, the Red Sox and Perez agreed to a one-year contract for the 2021 season with a club option for 2022, a source confirmed to the Boston Herald. According to multiple reports, Perez will earn $4.5 million in 2021 with a $6 million option for 2022 and a $500,000 buyout.

It wasn’t much of a surprise when the Red Sox declined Perez’s $6.85 million option on Nov. 1, which cost the team a $500,000 buyout and made the 29-year-old a free agent. The team will save $1.85 million this season under his new contract.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Perez’s deal includes several incentives. In 2021, he can receive $100,000 each for reaching 130, 140, 150, 160 and 170 innings.

It’s unclear what kind of market Perez was getting, but it’s clear the Red Sox liked him enough in his first season in Boston to bring him back, despite unimpressive numbers. Perez flashed a few times during the pandemic-shortened season, but finished with just a 3-5 record and a 4.50 ERA. Over the last three seasons, his 5.30 ERA is the highest among any pitcher with at least 50 starts, and his 1.54 WHIP is also last. Still, Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom was pleased with Perez.

One thing that can’t be denied is his durability, which could prove especially valuable for the Red Sox this season with several of their starters facing question marks. Perez was the only Red Sox starter to make double-digit starts last season (12), and he threw at least 165 innings in three of his previous four seasons.

With Chris Sale out until at least the summer, Eduardo Rodriguez’s uncertainty as he comes back from myocarditis and Nathan Eovaldi’s injury history, the Red Sox could certainly use Perez as an innings-eater.

Perez certainly enjoyed his time in Boston. After his final start last season, he expressed a desire to return.

“I want to be back next season,” Perez said. “I feel like at home here.”

By signing Perez, the Red Sox’ rotation takes some more shape. Rodriguez, Eovaldi, Perez, Tanner Houck, Nick Pivetta and newly signed Matt Andriese should all factor into spots to start the season, with Sale’s impending return later in the season. There are still plenty of options on the free-agent market, including Jake Odorizzi, Trevor Bauer and Jon Lester, if the Red Sox want to add more.


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