The Cleveland Indians have finally had enough of Chris Perez‘s antics and declining performance. The Indians released Perez on Thursday afternoon. According to Matt Swartz of MLBTradeRumors.com, Perez would have made somewhere near $9 million in his final year of arbitration next season, way too much for a closing pitcher.
Perez has seen decline both in performance and off-field issues in recent seasons. Owning a 3.33 ERA in five seasons with the Indians, Perez’s ERA went all the way up to 4.33 in 2013. He appeared in 54 games last season, saving just 25 games. After a great first half of the season, he fell apart in the second half.
In August, Perez’s ERA was 5.73 and opposing batters slugged .545 against him. In September and October, his ERA was disturbingly bad at 9.64. Opposing hitters put up a .419/.490/.814 slash line and an 1.304 OPS against him.
In June of 2013, Perez and his wife were charged with a misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance. He had more than a third of a pound of marijuana delivered to his home, but he didn’t have it delivered in his name. No, he had it delivered to his dog, “Brody Baum”.
Despite not pitching as well as he has in the past, along with drug charges, Perez will still find a job for 2014. Him becoming a free agent adds yet another good late-inning reliever to the market, joining Edward Mujica, Joaquin Benoit, Fernando Rodney, Brian Wilson and Joe Nathan.
Proven closers, for some reason, have a lot of value for some teams. Some teams have yet to climb aboard the “closer mentality is overrated” bandwagon. That’s okay though — let those teams pay a large bundle for a guy that will pitch 65 innings every season.