Are The Cleveland Indians Set Up To Trade Chris Perez In 2013?

By Thom Tsang
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

By adding former All-Star Matt Capps to the Bullpen Mafia on a minor league deal, the Cleveland Indians may have finally set the table for the eventual departure of said bullpen’s leader, closer Chris Perez.

That seems like a funny notion, considering that Perez is the man with the $7.3 million contract, while Capps will be competing for a major league job out of Spring Training; but, it’s something that the team has bounced around before, even before Capps arrived.

Part of that, of course, is Perez’s said price tag. The 27-year old is getting more expensive by the year, and if his 75 saves over the last two seasons are any indication, he will soon cost the kind of money that only a handful of closers can command. Even with the Indians’ open wallet policy which brought in Mark Reynolds and Nick Swisher, that’s not a road they’ll want to go down over the Perez’s next two arbitration years.

Excerbating the situation is also the fact that Perez doesn’t exactly have what you would call a general manager’s dream personality in a player. Still, as long as the team truly needs Perez, these are things that they can begrudging accept.

But they don’t, because the Indians already have someone better, and his name is Vinnie Pestano.

That’s no secret if you’re an Indians fan, and I’ll spare with statistical comparison here because regardless of whether you like the old-school counting numbers or advanced ones, Pestano has Perez beat across the board in essentially all categories.

All categories except saves, of course. Winning changes everything, after all, and the Indians winning is what will keep Perez on the team as its closer. As long as the team is in the hunt, they’d rather have two good closers rather than one, even if the roles are a bit topsy-turvy.

On the other hand, of the Indians are out of striking distance by the middle of summer and it’s not a result of Perez struggling, there’s a good chance that they’ll get their share of calls about the Perez’s services.

With Pestano ready for the big job, and a healthy Capps ready to set up, the team would be best served to listen to those calls very intently.

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