Chris Perez Rumors

Orioles To Sign Chris Perez

The Orioles have agreed to sign righty Chris Perez, presumably to a minor league deal, Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports on Twitter. Of course, Perez was just hit with a 50-game suspension for recreational drug use, so he’ll have to serve out that ban before donning a uniform in the Baltimore system.

Perez, the former Indians closer, started the year with the Brewers organization on a minor league deal after struggling in 2014 with the Dodgers. He opted out earlier in the year and received his suspension while a free agent. Before that, Perez had allowed eight earned runs over 7 2/3 Triple-A frames, with just three strikeouts against four walks.

Still just 29 years of age, Perez has had his moments in the big leagues. Indeed, despite his more recent difficulties keeping runs of the board, he’s pitched to a lifetime 3.51 ERA in 379 1/3 innings (with 8.6 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9). And Perez averaged around 94 mph on his fastball last year, indicating that he could still have some gas in the tank.

 


Chris Perez Suspended 50 Games For Drug Of Abuse

Free agent righty Chris Perez has been hit with a 50-game suspension, the league announced (h/t to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy). The penalty was assessed for use of a drug of abuse, with the length based on the fact that this is Perez’s second such offense.

Perez, 29, was the long-time closer for the Indians before signing as a free agent last year with the Dodgers. He opened the 2015 season at Triple-A for the Brewers after inking a minor league deal, but opted out of his deal earlier in the season.

Though he’s had some very good years along the way, Perez has struggled to deliver consistent results while dealing with command issues at times. He still has a big arm, having averaged over 94 mph on his four-seamer last year, and seemed likely to get another shot at the big leagues in the relatively near term.

All told, Perez owns a 3.51 ERA over 379 1/3 MLB frames, with 8.6 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9. He allowed eight earned runs on 14 hits and four walks in his 7 2/3 minor league frames earlier this year, striking out just three batters in the process.


Chris Perez Opts Out Of Brewers Contract

Former Indians closer Chris Perez has opted out of his Minor League pact with the Brewers, reports MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy (on Twitter). With the decision, Perez is again a free agent, so the CAA client will be able to field offers from any of the 29 other clubs.

Perez, still just 29, struggled a great deal in his six appearances in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. In 7 2/3 innings, he allowed eight runs (9.39 ERA) on 14 hits (one homer) with an unsightly 3-to-4 K/BB ratio.

Over the past two big league seasons, Perez saw his stock drop considerably, posting a combined 4.31 ERA in 100 1/3 innings between Cleveland and the Dodgers. That mark lines up in a near-perfect manner with his 4.32 xFIP in that time, although FIP (which doesn’t normalize his homer-to-flyball ratio as xFIP does) feels that his ERA should’ve been a bit north of 5.00. In those 100 1/3 innings, Perez averaged 8.3 K/9 against 4.1 BB/9, though it’s worth noting that he did rediscover his previously diminished velocity in 2014, averaging 94.2 mph on his heater.

From 2010-12, Perez was a serviceable ninth-inning arm for Cleveland, pitching to a 2.84 ERA (138 ERA+) with 7.9 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 180 1/3 frames. That strikeout rate isn’t as high as one would hope to see out of a shutdown closer, though it’s skewed by what appears to have been a fluky 5.9 K/9 in 2011. Perez’s relative youth, velocity and 133 career saves should allow him to latch on with another club in spite of his 2015 struggles at the Triple-A level.



Brewers Re-Sign Chris Perez

The Brewers have re-signed righty Chris Perez to a minor league deal, the club announced. Milwaukee had released Perez on Sunday.

Perez, a former closer with the Indians, seemingly took some time to look around for a big league opportunity before deciding to return. At least one team, the Twins, was approached but declined the chance to add him, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets.

In spite of his solid results this spring, Perez was passed over for an Opening Day roster spot with Milwaukee. Of course, the 29-year-old has struggled to keep runs off the board in each of the last two seasons, with both results and advanced metrics painting a less-than-promising picture.


Brewers Release Chris Perez

The Brewers have released reliever Chris Perez, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Perez was in camp on a minor league deal. He was granted his release rather than re-assigned so he can look for another big league opportunity (also Twitter).

Perez, 29, pitched 46 innings for the Dodgers in 2014. He posted a 4.27 ERA with 7.58 K/9 and 4.86 BB/9. The former Indians closer has locked down 133 career saves, but he began to struggle with command and control in 2013. His stuff has remained largely intact, including a 94 mph fastball. He pitched to a 2.70 ERA this spring with five strikeouts and three walks in 10 innings.


Central Notes: Eaton, Henderson, Perez, Jackson, Wood

Today’s biggest transactional news came out of Chicago, as the White Sox continued to set the stage for the future by extending outfielder Adam Eaton. The 26-year-old expressed plenty of excitement for the new deal, though it sounds as if he did not quite enjoy the process that it took to reach agreement, as Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com tweets“I didn’t sleep much,” said Eaton. “Very stressful. I don’t know how the other side felt. It was long.”

Let’s have a look at a few more notes from the central divisions:

  • Former Brewers closer Jim Henderson was reassigned to minor league camp today as he continues to show slow progress in his return from shoulder surgery, as MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports. Henderson has been throwing his fastball at about five to ten miles per hour below his peak mid-to-upper-90s offering from recent seasons.
  • Fellow righty Corey Knebel has also been shipped to the minor league side of camp by the Brewers, writes McCalvy, leaving Chris Perez, Tyler Thornburg, and Rob Wooten to battle over the final pen role. Perez is in camp on a minor league deal and has Article XX(B) protection, meaning that the team will either need to put him on the active roster, pay him a $100K bonus in the minors (and give him a June 1 opt-out date), or release him. The other two players still have options.
  • Cubs skipper Joe Maddon says he is talking with president of baseball operations Theo Epstein about a creative means to fit both Edwin Jackson and Travis Wood on the 25-man roster, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat tweets. Jackson is in the midst of a substantial free agent contract, while Wood is out of options. A transaction would be necessary should either player not make the club out of camp.

NL Notes: Epstein, Diamondbacks, Brewers

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has nothing to report about whether he might soon receive an extension, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune writes. “That’s a private matter,” says Epstein. “I look at it and the club looks at it like this is going to be a longer-term marriage, and we’re not concerned about the fact there is no extension.” Epstein’s contract ends after 2016. With salaries for big-name executives increasing (Sullivan points out that Andrew Friedman got five years and $35MM from the Dodgers), Sullivan wonders if Epstein could go elsewhere after his contract expires if the Cubs’ rebuild pans out as most fans hope. Here are more notes from the National League.


Brewers Sign Chris Perez To Minor League Deal

6:48pm: Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports (via Twitter) that Perez can top out at $3MM if he hits all of the incentives in his contract. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweets that $1.5MM of that will be his base salary upon making the club, and the deal has another $1.5MM worth of incentives based on games finished.

6:16pm: The Brewers announced that they have signed right-hander Chris Perez to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league Spring Training. Perez, formerly the closer for the Indians, will compete for a spot in the Milwaukee bullpen.

The 29-year-old Perez spent the 2014 season with the Dodgers, where he worked to a 4.27 ERA in 46 1/3 innings. However, despite moving back to the National League — he originally came up with the Cardinals — Perez posted the second-worst K/9 rate of his career (7.6) as well as his worst BB/9 rate to date (4.9).

Perez has struggled to a 4.31 ERA over the past two seasons — a span of 100 1/3 innings — but he was generally more effective during his 2010-12 peak with Cleveland. In that time, Perez totaled a 2.84 ERA and made a pair of All-Star teams while saving 98 games. As Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel notes (on Twitter), the Brewers have been looking for a reliever with closer experience, and Perez certainly fits that bill with a low cost of acquisition.

Presumably, the signing of Perez doesn’t preclude the Brewers’ search to add to their 40-man roster, however. Milwaukee has been linked on and off to Jonathan Papelbon over the past two weeks, and they’re also said to be interested in a reunion with Francisco Rodriguez, who has been with Milwaukee for parts of the past four seasons.


NL Notes: Nashville, Phillies, Maeda, Perez, Pagan

We recently covered the many changes in minor league affiliates. One of those — the Brewers parting ways with former Triple-A affiliate Nashville — appeared to feature considerable consternation on the MLB team’s part. As Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, Nashville’s owner has now acknowledged that he wanted a new parent club because the Brewers had not done enough to put a winning ballclub on the field at the Triple-A level. Nashville’s new MLB club, the Athletics, has enjoyed a strong recent run of success at the top minor league level.

  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has logged significant air miles in recent days, as Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. In addition to taking a personal look at Yasmany Tomas, Amaro flew to Japan to put eyes on starter Kenta Maeda, as MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reports on Twitter. Both international targets offer relative youth, a rare commodity on the free agent market, though that obviously increases their appeal to other clubs as well.
  • Dodgers reliever Chris Perez has already earned $1.5MM in incentives this year on top of his $2.3MM base salary, reports Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. He picked up $500K each for his 35th, 40th, and 45th appearances, and will trigger another half-million payday with his next call from the pen. The 29-year-old has struggled to a 4.27 ERA over 46 1/3 frames, and his peripherals (7.6 K/9, 4.9 BB/9, 37.7% groundball rate, 5.07 FIP) do not paint a more favorable picture.
  • Giants center fielder Angel Pagan will undergo season-ending back surgery, Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News tweets. The 33-year-old has performed well when healthy, but has made just 718 plate appearances since signing a four-year, $40MM contract before the 2013 season.

Dodgers Sign Chris Perez

TUESDAY, 1:47pm: The Dodgers confirmed the deal via press release.

"Chris expressed an interest in coming here and pitching in any role Don asks of him,” said Colletti. “We see him adding depth and experience to our bullpen and while Kenley [Jansen] and Brian [Wilson] will close games, we play so many tight games that we couldn’t pass up the chance to add another reliever who has experienced success in the 7th, 8th and 9th inning. It’s a great opportunity for both Chris and the Dodgers."

MONDAY, 7:44pm: Perez's base salary will be $2.3MM, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets.

7:16pm: Perez will make a base salary of around $2.25MM, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets. The deal is also heavy on incentives, and Fletcher notes Perez might be able to make up to about $6MM in a setup role, or $8MM if he becomes the Dodgers' closer.

10:18am: The Dodgers and free agent right-hander Chris Perez are in agreement on a one-year deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Perez will take his physical today, according to Rosenthal. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times first reported last night that the Dodgers were nearing a deal with Perez, who is represented by Nez Balelo of CAA Sports.

Perez-Chris

The 28-year-old Perez looked to be on his way to another strong season with the Indians in 2013, having gone 17-for-19 in save opportunities and pitched to a 2.52 ERA with a 30-to-13 K/BB ratio through his first 35 2/3 innings. However, Perez unraveled in an Aug. 5 outing that saw him surrender four earned runs without recording an out. He would go on to allow 16 earned runs over his final 18 1/3 innings with the Indians.

Because he was projected to earn as much as $9MM via arbitration this winter, the Indians made the decision to release him shortly after season's end rather than pay him that lofty salary. Instead, Indians GM Chris Antonetti elected to bring in John Axford on a one-year, $4.5MM pact.

Perez's salary and on-field performance may not have been the only contributing factor to that decision. He also plead no contest to drug charges after he and his wife had a small package of marijuana shipped to their home. He also spoke out against the Indians' lack of spending on the free agent market following the 2012 season.

Despite those issues, there's no denying that Perez has the ability to succeed in a late-inning role for the Dodgers. From 2010-12, Perez served as Cleveland's primary stopper, posting a 2.84 ERA with 98 saves, 7.9 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9. That strikeout rate is a bit misleading, as it's weighed down by an abnormally low 5.9 K/9 in 2011. Perez whiffed rougly a batter per inning in both 2010 and 2012, and he's averaged 8.7 punchouts per nine innings in his career as a whole.

Perez will likely slot into the seventh inning for the Dodgers, given the presence of Brian Wilson and Kenley Jansen at the back-end of the bullpen. J.P. Howell, Paco Rodriguez, Brandon League and Chris Withrow will round out manager Don Mattingly's relief corps in 2014.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.