“Look, [Chris] Perez is a fine pitcher, but he’s overrated. Plus, he’s getting expensive. My only fear is that the team really punted on getting a maximum return for him this past offseason.”
–Joe Werner, April, 2, 2013
Oops. Whether you’ve been paying attention to The Plain Dealer of late or not, you don’t need sportswriter Terry Pluto to convince you that Chris Perez will be shopped – and very likely moved – during the offseason. The Indians, according to Pluto, shopped their mercurial closer last offseason and reportedly found the market to be, well, “iffy.”
And that was before Perez was removed from the closer’s role following a several-week implosion down the stretch. Oh, yeah, he’s likely to get a raise – pushing his salary to somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million – during his final go round in arbitration.
If the front office thought the market was a little soft for Perez last year, then they shouldn’t be shocked to find it all but non-existent this offseason.
A quick peruse through the Major League rosters and there are probably only three potential landing spots for the club’s closer: New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels and Pittsburgh Pirates.
With the (expected) retirement of legend Mariano Rivera, the Yankees will definitely be in need of some bullpen help. The New York ‘pen next season (thus far) consists of David Robertson, Shawn Kelley, Boone Logan, and reportedly Goose Gossage. Their need is obvious.
After flopping like a fish out of water for most of the season, the Angels realized their need for any type of pitching. The both the club’s starters and relievers posted the fifth worst ERA in baseball.
And the Pirates, who are still fighting in the playoffs, coaxed several career years out of players while posting the third lowest bullpen ERA in the game. But Jason Grilli is another year older, another season closer to 40. And does anyone expect Mark Melancon to post a 1.39 ERA over 71 innings next season?
If the Indians want to move Perez, and it certainly sounds like it, they’re going to need to kick in at least $5 million to get any type of return. And who knows? They might not even be able to give him away. After all, Perez has posted a 3.73 ERA with only decent peripherals since 2011 (8.0 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9).
My prediction: Perez and $6 million are sent to New York – never thought I’d write that – for a low B-type prospect.