On Opening Day 2021, Yusmeiro Petit will be entering his age 36-season, and while the consensus on most pitchers that age is that they are in the throes of declining performance, the opposite appears to be the case for Petit.
A well-below league average pitcher at the start of his career—pitching to a 5.57 ERA from 2006-2009—Petit would labor in the minor leagues for the next three years before finding his way to the San Francisco Giants. In parts of four seasons there, 2012-2015, Petit won a World Series, and pitched to a 3.66 ERA.
Following a three year stint with the Oakland Athletics, where he pitched to a 2.73 ERA, Petit now finds himself a free agent, and despite his advanced age by baseball standards, should have no problem finding employment for 2021.
Despite an average fastball velocity of 88.6 mph, which ranks in the 4th percentile (385 of 399 qualified pitchers) per Baseball Savant, Petit’s results should null any concerns about the lack of overpowering stuff.
Per stathead, among pitchers with at least 280 innings pitched since the start of 2017, Petit ranks 4th among qualified pitchers with a 2.74 ERA, and first among relievers in that span. Petit also does a great job at limiting base runners, ranking 5th in H/9 over that span at 6.88 —a mark which also places him first among relievers—and first overall in WHIP in that span at 0.941.
With all of this in mind, it begs the question of what Petit’s market looks like.
While he won’t command the dollars of recently signed Liam Hendriks, seeing the signing of injured reliever Kirby Yates to a 1-year/$5.5 million deal with Toronto, it shouldn’t be a farce to see Petit inking a multi-year deal for equal-to or slightly higher AAV. For context, Petit’s last deal with Oakland paid him exactly $5.5 million in each of the last two years.
How realistic is it though for a team like the Marlins to be a fit for the veteran reliever.
Petit owes his major league career to the Marlins, who gave him his first cup of coffee in 2006, where he struggled to the tune of a 9.57 ERA, allowing 46 hits in just 26 1⁄3 innings.
For argument’s sake though, those results a decade-and-a-half ago bear no merit on the pitcher Petit is now, and with a projected team payroll of just $60 million, a multi-year deal for Petit wouldn’t break the bank by any means.
The addition of Petit would, too, help bolster a bullpen that’s seen as one of the weaker ones in the National League.