Trade Candidate: Chris Perez

Chris Perez is enjoying a nice comeback season in 2012 and made the All-Star team, but the Indians closer has mostly drawn attention for his statements off the field.  Perez criticized Cleveland fans for low attendance and a perceived lack of support last spring, and now the right-hander has spoken out against team management in a recent interview with FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi.

Perez is clearly frustrated in Cleveland, and if his latest comments were the last straw for Indians' management, it might be best for both sides if they parted ways this offseason.  The Indians have a deep bullpen that includes the likes of Vinnie Pestano, Joe Smith and Tony Sipp, with Pestano the favorite to take over closing duties should Perez get traded.

There was talk, in fact, that Pestano could've taken over as closer in 2012 in the wake of Perez's shaky 2011 campaign.  While Perez posted a 3.32 ERA, his advanced metrics (4.65 SIERA, 5.01 xFIP) weren't kind and he had a career-low 5.9 K/9, good for just a 1.5 K/BB ratio.  Perez has bounced back nicely this season (3.51 ERA, 2.55 SIERA, 3.18 xFIP, a 10.4 K/9 and a career-low 2.0 BB/9) and the righty now has a career 3.20 ERA and 266 strikeouts in 270 innings over five seasons. 

At age 27, Perez is in his prime and arguably has more upside than any of the free agent closing options on the market this winter.  He will be arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter after agreeing on a $4.5MM contract for 2012, so you can guess Perez is looking at a raise to around $6MM in 2013.  The escalating cost might've made Perez a trade candidate anyway for the cost-conscious Indians though other teams around baseball may also hesitate to take Perez given that he's on pace to earn even more in 2014 after his final arb year.  Still, $6MM for a proven closer is not a bad price to pay.

Here are a few teams who may be looking for a new closer this offseason….

  • Mets. Frank Francisco is set to earn $6.5MM next season and the Mets may not have much payroll space to work with this winter.  Still, the Mets are known to be looking for bullpen help and could be looking for a longer-term option than Francisco, who has pitched better (3.55 SIERA, 10.07 K/9) than his 5.49 ERA would indicate.
  • Dodgers. A very borderline candidate, as L.A. would only be looking for closing help if Kenley Jensen's heart problems proved to be career-threatening.
  • Astros. Wilton Lopez was recently named closer and the rebuilding Astros will likely look for young arms and low-cost veterans in their bullpen rather than pursue a bigger name this offseason.
  • Red Sox. It's probably unlikely that the Sox would pursue another closer but Perez would provide depth given Andrew Bailey's injury history.
  • Tigers. Jose Valverde is a free agent this winter and the Tigers could look for a younger upgrade to finish games.  It's doubtful the Indians would deal Perez to a divisional rival, especially in this case since Perez singled out the Tigers for praise as a team who spends despite their medium market size.
  • Yankees. If Rafael Soriano leaves for free agency, the Yankees could want a proven closer on hand should Mariano Rivera have a setback in his recovery from a torn ACL.

21 Responses to Trade Candidate: Chris Perez Leave a Reply

  1. Vmmercan 3 years ago

    Chris Perez+New York media=Yikes.

  2. Calvnhobs 3 years ago

    With Brian Wilson having his 2nd Tommy John surgery, I would add the Giants to that list.

    • Agreed. There hasn’t been much issue made of it as far as I’ve seen, but I have to wonder if Giants will be fully committed to taking a gamble and paying Wilson upwards of $8M in his final year of arbitration eligibility. It has to be a tough call right now with him coming off a 2nd Tommy John surgery.

  3. I believe the Rays have a team option for 2013 on Rodney for 2.5m.

    • What a steal of a deal that was for the Rays hell of a find by them and shows that organization is gonna be run great for years to come… they’ll always be in contention going forward.

  4. diesel2410 3 years ago

    Ummmmm Rays hold a VERY affordable option on Rodney. If he goes anywhere else, the Cubs will win the 2013 World Series

  5. Tony Sipp viable bullpen option? He stinks. No mention of Rogers???

  6. start_wearing_purple 3 years ago

    Actually I wouldn’t count the Red Sox out. Aceves had some dust up with Valentine earlier over Bailey reclaiming the closer’s role. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him shipped out which means the Sox might want to bring in some one to be Bailey’s back up.

    • johnsilver 3 years ago

      I think he may be gone also if Valentine stays next year. Regardless? Aceves proved he isn’t anywhere near reliable enough to be a closer. He reminds me of Kevin Gregg with his propensity for giving up the long ball after he walks a couple in his far too often melt down games.

      Aceves is the perfect 2-3IP middle inning and swing man for emergency starts. Cherrington needs to sit him down during the off season and explain that situation in detail if valentine is let go and he will only close if something happens to Bailey on a interim basis until Bailey is back, unless melencon makes a magical turnaround next season.

  7. I wouldn’t count out the Mets as a candidate; they likely have more payroll flexibility now with the Madoff saga behind them. I would count the Yankees out, however, as Rafael Soriano is signed through 2013 and may well earn himself an extension. Remember, Mariano Rivera turns 43 in November, and even if he signs another deal, I think that that 2013 will be it.

    • The Mets should very much be in the running for Perez as they need a legit closer option going forward and need to solidify the bullpen heading forward after the terrible year its had.

    • icedrake523 3 years ago

      The last thing the Mets need to do is waste their prospects on a player who will only contribute in half their wins. Nothing against Chris Perez, if the Mets were closer to contention it’d make sense. However, this team needs a lot more before they should be going after closers.

  8. sportsfan07 3 years ago

    Don’t forget his tirade with an Oakland fan. That was hilarious.

  9. Add the Reds to the list. Chap is going to start next year and not sure if Bailey or Leake can close.

    • Bailey is a natural closer. Always has been. Leaked a 5th starter. And a good one. No way id want them out of the rotation though. Either of them. Resign madsen. Cheap. Incentive deal. He owes us!!

  10. RetroRob 3 years ago

    Chris Perez is enjoying a nice comeback season in 2012, you say? Where is he coming back from? He has 34 saves this year and 36 last year. The two seasons are pretty much identical in other stats too. Hey, maybe he can also win the comeback player of the year award for getting four more saves than last year.
    I think Perez overrates himself because of the situation he found himself in in Cleveland. On another team he never sniffs the closer’s role. He’s probably better suited to be a set-up reliever, but now that he has the title of “proven closer” on his resume, who knows what will happen.
    The Indians should move him for something and make Pestano the closer. Outside of the Rivera-class closers, most of these guys are pretty fungible, snap out one, snap in another. It’s a lot easier now that the closer only has to get three outs.

  11. R.D. 3 years ago

    Chris Perez is such a Red Sox player it hurts.

  12. Ohiowa 3 years ago

    Why do the Astros need a closer. For that matter, why do the Indians, too? I could see Perez pitching for the Reds next year.

  13. melonis_rex 3 years ago

    Trade him. Just don’t do something to tank his trade value like suspend him this season (as much as his comments and antics probably deserve it).

    Even a sell-low on a closer like Perez can end up to be a fine deal for the Indians.

  14. Ah the Cincinnati reds! No way chapman doesn’t make the jump to the rotation and replace arroyo. He’s beloved in cincinnati but isn’t coming back. Him and token off the books plus mad dogs money. I think we get someone for the back end of the pen whether its mad dog or broxton, were gonna need someone.

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