Closing pitcher Chris Perez #54 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after the last strike to end the game as the Indians defeated the Cincinnati Reds at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Reds 10-9. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
You can't really blame Indians closer Chris Perez for wanting to play for a better team. But is he actively trying to get traded to a better team?
Chris Perez says whatever comes into his head. That's why we love him!
Chris Perez says whatever comes into his head. That's why we hate him!
Actually, we all love him. Because he's interesting. The people who sign his paychecks might not be so thrilled with Chris Perez right now, though, even considering his 34 saves. Because recently Jon Paul Morosi asked Perez why the Indians, unlike some of their low-payroll brethren around the majors, once more aren't real competitive. Perez, as usual, didn't mince words:
"Different owners," Perez said frankly, in reference to Detroit’s Mike Ilitch and Cleveland’s Lawrence J. Dolan. "It comes down to that. They (the Tigers) are spending money. He (Ilitch) wants to win. Even when the economy was down (in Detroit), he spent money. He’s got a team to show for it. You get what you pay for in baseball. Sometimes you don’t. But most of the time you do."
"You can’t miss," Perez said. "You have to be right. That’s why I say it’s not just ownership. They don’t make the trades. It’s the GMs. It goes hand in hand. The GMs can only spend the money the owners give them, but they pick who they spend it on or who they don’t. They pick. The owners don’t pick.
"Josh Willingham would look great in this lineup. They didn’t want to (pony) up for that last year. … That’s the decision they make, and this is the bed we’re laying in."
Josh Willingham's a left fielder, DH type. The Indians already had a Designated Hitter under contract, for a lot of money. So Willingham would have played left field with the Indians. He's a bad outfielder, but a good hitter. The Indians' left fielders have been uniformly terrible this season. With Willingham, the Indians would be about four games better than they've been ... which would leave them about a dozen games out of the money in the Wild Card standings.
Essentially, for the Indians to be laying in a meaningfully different bed, they would need three or four Josh Willinghams. The Indians' problem is that their starting pitchers have a 4.80 ERA; that not one of their starting pitchers has been even league-average this season. And there's not a great deal that anyone could have done about that before the season; the Tribe did spend $5 million on Derek Lowe, which didn't work out real well.
Craig Calcaterra thinks Perez is angling to get traded this winter. I don't think Perez would mind getting traded, but I also don't think he actually thinks about the ramifications before he opens his pie-hole.