Antonio Perez became the second A's player to avoid arbitration, when he agreed to a one-year contract with the team on Monday. The A's back-up infielder is currently competing for the Gigantes of the Dominican Winter League in the round-robin playoffs. He missed much of the regular winter season while he was recovering from a broken finger he sustained during the major league season's final weekend.
Perez hit .102 in 57 games for Oakland last season, as he struggled with the bat all year long. He had one homer and eight RBIs. Perez was a versatile defensive player, however, appearing in games at second, short and third. Terms of the deal were not immediately known. Perez was acquired by Oakland as part of the Andre Ethier/Milton Bradley deal in December 2005.
A's Sign Veteran Merloni
After years of rumors that Lou Merloni would be joining the A's, the transaction was finally made official on Monday, as the veteran inked a minor league contract. Merloni has been invited to major league spring training.
The former Indian and Red Sox utilityman spent most of last season in Triple-A as part of the Cleveland organization. The Massachusetts native has played in parts of nine major league seasons and is a .271 career hitter. He can play second, third and short. Merloni has appeared with the Indians, Angels, Red Sox and Padres during his major league career and he was a fan favorite at Fenway.
Merloni will likely give the A's veteran depth at the Triple-A level to guard against injuries to any of their infielders.
A's Ink Minor League Pitcher
The A's have also added a right-handed pitcher to their minor league ranks. Luis Ramirez, a native of Venezuela, was signed as a minor league free agent. The 24-year-old spent the last five seasons in the Baltimore Orioles chain. Last season, he was in High-A Frederick, where he went 8-9 with a 4.23 ERA in 23 starts. Ramirez has a career 30-25 minor league record with 506 strikeouts in 472.1 innings pitched.