Indians Expected to Shop Chris Perez A Year Too Late

Chris Perez

 

“The Indians will have a new closer next season.”

Terry Pluto, The Plain Dealer, September 04, 2013

Well, color me shocked. Shocked, I say! Oh, wait. I’ve been pressing the Indians to deal Chris Perez, the club’s mercurial closer, for the better part of two years now.

Back on my original site in September, before the largest spending spree in the organization’s history, I argued, “[Perez has] been dominant – exceptionally dominant. His value is likely to never be any higher this offseason, loudmouth or not.” I continued by comparing Oakland’s deal sending Andrew Bailey to Boston for outfielder power-hitting outfielder Josh Reddick and a pair of prospects: “While the return for Perez may not be that plentiful – the A’s really hit a homerun – the Indians should be able to get an MLB-ready or near ready regular and a solid B-level prospect for an upper-tier reliever who is still under team control through the end of 2014.”

But the pièce de résistance of the article came a few sentences later, writing that this would be possible because of the emergence of a then unknown reliever by the name of Cody Allen. Allen, by the way, has been the club’s most effective reliever this season and owns the 12th highest K-rate among AL relievers. [pullquote]My only fear is that the team punted on getting maximum return for him this past offseason.”[/pullquote]

In an article discussing the Nick Swisher deal, I threw up another Hail Mary of sorts: “Now if I could convince the team to deal Chris Perez, whose value will never be higher, for another bat. Sigh.” I’ve really never been one to let things go.

Then a few months later I was invited to write for It’s Pronounced Lajaway, a member of ESPN’s SweetSpot Network. And wouldn’t you know it, a question involving about a potential Perez trade. My response: “Perez is a fine pitcher, but he’s overrated. Plus, he’s getting expensive. My only fear is that the team punted on getting maximum return for him this past offseason.”

Going back to Pluto’s article, he explained that the Indians did in fact shop Perez last season, but the trade market was a bit “iffy.”

Guess what?

It’s going to be even worse this offseason. Go figure.

Perez’s numbers have noticeably declined across the board this season.

Year

K/9

BB/9

FIP

xFIP

SIERA

fWAR

2012

9.21

2.50

3.34

3.67

3.04

0.8

2013

8.34

3.44

4.62

3.86

3.59

-0.4

 

As evidenced by the final column, Perez has actually pitched below the expected replacement level. Meaning: theoretically, a random Class AAA reliever would have outperformed him this season. Oh, yeah, he’s likely to fetch something close to $10 million during his final go-round in arbitration.

So, if the team truly did explore deals other destinations for him last offseason and found it be a little underwhelming. Imagine what they’ll expect to find during the coming winter months.

Not only did the front office keep Chris Perez, but he’s on pace for the worst season of his career in terms of wins above replacement (though some of that is poor luck due to a wonky HR rate). Given his expected price tag and disappointing performance, Chris Antonetti and Co. will be lucky to get a role player and a C-level prospect.

It’s a shame, really. If only someone had been there to point this out, oh, about two years ago.

Photo of Chris Perez Courtesy of the AP via the HuffingtonPost.com



About

After serving as a video scout/analyst for Baseball Info Solutions, Joe Werner began writing at his original site, ReleasePoints.com. He’s since transitioned into his current niche, prospect analysis, at ProspectDigest.com. He has been fortunate — and incredibly blessed — to have some of his work published and mentioned by several major media outlets, including: ESPN, Cleveland.com and the Baseball Research Journal. He can be reached at: JosephMWerner@yahoo.com.