The Martin Perez signing means the Texas Rangers aren't deviating from their pitching blueprint. And it's a pretty simple one: Identify the young arms you feel are part of your core for the long haul and lock them up for the future now.
Perez is the fourth member of the expected 2014 rotation to sign a deal that keeps him in Texas through at least the 2017 season. Perez, not unlike lefty Derek Holland, signed a deal that gives the club the option of keeping him here even longer. Perez's contract, which gives him $12.5 million guaranteed over four years, also includes club options for 2018, 2019 and 2020. That could mean Perez is wearing a uniform until he's almost 30 years old.
But consider what this rotation looks like in terms of consistency over the next few years:
Yu Darvish: Signed through 2017 at six years, $56 million (prior to 2012). If he wins the Cy Young between now and 2016 and finishes second through fourth in another season, he can opt out of the final season. He can also do that if he finishes second in the Cy Young balloting once in that span and second through fourth in two other seasons.
Matt Harrison: Signed through 2017 at five years, $55 million (prior to last season). Club option for 2018.
Holland: Signed through 2016 at five years, $28.5 million (prior to 2012). Club options for 2017 and 2018.
Perez: Signed through 2017 at four years, $12.5 million. Club options for 2018, 2019 and 2020.
So the Rangers have committed to these four arms for the forseeable future and have done so at reasonable rates, attempting to avoid the high-priced free-agent market for hurlers if they can. Perez showed enough last year to warrant a long-term deal from the club at a price that means both sides avoid arbitration as Perez gets some security and the Rangers gets options to keep a young pitcher with upside for a long time. Smart move.