The Washington Nationals formally announced long-reported deals with relievers Oliver Perez and Shawn Kelley Friday, confirming previous reports of a two-year deal for Perez and a three-year deal for Kelley. The Nationals have not, however, formally announced the signing of right-hander Yusmeiro Petit, though a person familiar with the situation confirmed that the team has agreed to a one-year deal with a club option.
The signings mark a rapid and significant bullpen overhaul, and give the Nationals four relievers — Kelley, Perez, Petit and Jonathan Papelbon — with at least seven seasons of major league experience. Last year’s opening day bullpen had one, Matt Thornton, who rarely pitched to more than a batter at a time.
Perez, 34, likely slots into Thornton’s role as the Nationals’ matchup lefty, though President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo said this week that if Perez can regain the form he had before struggling with the Astros late last season, he has the stuff to retire both righties and lefties.
Kelley, meanwhile, will probably serve as part of the bridge to whomever the Nationals late-inning relievers are — Papelbon and Drew Storen, for the moment. The 31-year-old will make somewhere around $15 million over the life of his contract, $4 million the first year, then $5.5 in subsequent years. Perez will make $7 million over the course of his deal.
— Barry Svrluga contributed