The Cleveland Indians have decided to release closer Chris Perez, which means they will have plenty of work to do in the offseason to find a replacement. At this point, the question has to be asked if the Indians made the right decision to let the right-hander go.
Perez is the same pitcher who was under police investigation in early June for a mysterious package that was delivered to his condo. The package reportedly contained a significant amount of marijuana, which was why his wife and he were arrested. More controversy followed Perez late in the year when he surrendered six earned runs in the last two games of the season. After he gave up four runs against the Minnesota Twins, he reportedly told manager Terry Francona that he did not want to be the closer because he felt it could hurt the team’s chance to win.
Obviously, these two incidents did not help Perez’s cause for the Indians to keep him on the roster for next season. With that being said, the organization claims the controversial incidents are not why the 28-year-old is no longer with the team.
“I think we were able to handle any issues,” general manager Chris Antonetti said, according to USA Today Sports. “In the end, we won 92 games with him serving as our closer for the majority of the season.”
“On balance, Chris was a very meaningful contributor to our teams over the last few years,” he added. “He had a tough stretch at the end of the season, but all players go through ups and downs. I think Chris will respond well and pitch well for his next team.”
At this point, it is obvious Cleveland did not feel Perez was worth the pay raise he was going to receive. To pay a player more than $8 million for a 4.33 earned run average and five blow saves in 30 opportunities is simply not going to get the Indians to where they are trying to go.