A few items from around the baseball world as we head into the new week…
- “There is interest on both sides for a reunion” between the Indians and left-hander Oliver Perez, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports, though Hoynes doesn’t expect a deal (if any) to happen for at least a month. Perez is one of many veteran relievers who may be somewhat stuck in limbo until later in the offseason as teams try to wait out the market, though the southpaw figures to draw another Major League contract based on his strong performance in 2018. After spending Spring Training and the first two months of the season on minors contracts with the Reds and Yankees, Perez landed in Cleveland and posted a 1.39 ERA, 6.14 K/BB rate and an 11.97 K/9 over 32 1/3 innings, posting dominant numbers against both left-handed and right-handed batters. Even expecting some regression, Perez at worst looks like he could be a LOOGY type. Outside of closer Brad Hand, Tyler Olson is the only other left-handed reliever in the Tribe’s pen, so there’s certainly a case for Perez to return.
- Left-handed pitching prospect Jesus Luzardo is drawing raves from both inside and outside the Athletics organization, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser writes, leading to increased speculation that he could begin the season on Oakland’s Major League roster. The 21-year-old Luzardo jumped from high A-ball to Triple-A in 2018, posting a combined 2.88 ERA, 10.6 K/9, and 4.3 K/BB rate over 109 1/3 total innings. Those numbers did include a 7.31 ERA over 16 Triple-A frames, however, and two rival scouts felt Luzardo needed a bit more minor league seasoning. (Left unsaid were any service time considerations the A’s might have about gaining an extra year of team control over the top prospect.) On the other hand, Luzardo’s widely-praised poise and makeup makes him seem like a good candidate to at least mentally handle the jump to the big leagues, and his talent could also be too much to ignore. “I don’t see any way he can’t break [camp] with us,” special assistant Grady Fuson said, also favorably comparing Luzardo to several past Athletics arms. “He’s one of the best things to come along here in a while. If you take our own history, he has better stuff than [Mark] Mulder. He’s got better heat than [Barry] Zito. You could kind of compare him to Gio Gonzalez at the same point, but with much, much better command.”
- With the Diamondbacks mired in a disappointing season back in August 2016, the Dave Stewart-led front office proposed a five-year rebuilding plan for the team, the Athletic’s Zach Buchanan reports (subscription required). Largely compiled by former assistant GM Bryan Minniti, two of the plan’s main components involved trading Paul Goldschmidt and exploring an extension with shortstop Jean Segura, which created an immediate contrast to what the D’Backs actually did when Stewart was replaced by current GM Mike Hazen — Segura was the one dealt as part of a noteworthy trade with the Mariners, while Goldschmidt was kept in the fold for two more seasons, leading the Snakes to a postseason berth in 2017. The piece is well worth a full read for a look at this potential alternate history of Arizona baseball, as Buchanan weighs the pros and cons of whether it would’ve been wiser for the D’Backs to begin a rebuild then as opposed to the semi-retooling that the club has undergone this offseason. Of course, as one source mentioned to Buchanan, Stewart might not have been the best GM to entrust with a rebuild, given how his front office was often criticized for its approach to acquiring and evaluating minor league talent.