The Indians have released Chris Perez. Perez had served as the team's closer four the last four seasons, and was great in 2010, but each season since then has seen diminishing returns, while his salary has climbed through arbitration. He was likely to cost something like $9 million in 2014 had the team kept him, while he was a below-average relief pitcher in 2013, and lost the closer job late in the year. Perez's time with the team was also marked by off-field drama, including a spat with fans in 2012 and an arrest on drug charges in 2013.
Some expected the Indians to hold onto Perez for a while, and look to trade him, but the fact of the matter is, he no longer had any trade value. He will now become a free agent, and I expect he'll land some sort of a 1-year deal, for something substantially less than $9 million. The Indians already knew they needed a new closer (perhaps Cody Allen), this makes it official.
I'm happy to hear this news. I don't have any ill will for Perez (though I know many fans do), but he simply wasn't getting it done in 2013. That was the continuation of a downward trend in his production, not something I think was going to turn back around. The Indians probably shouldn't pay any relief pitcher $9 million, it's just too much of their relatively-modest budget, but if they're going to, it needs to be a great one.
Perez departs Cleveland with 124 saves in a Tribe uniform, third-most in franchise history.