Everyone knows how much the Indians ripped off the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Carlos Santana-Casey Blake trade. What few around the game have noticed is that the team nearly stole as much from the St. Louis Cardinals in the Mark DeRosa trade.
While Perez has been with the Indians for over a year now he has been stuck in the 8th inning role for a good portion of his time in Our Favorite Nine. While the Indians kept hanging on to the Kerry Wood experiment, Perez was muddled in a role he had outgrown long ago. Wood, due to his veteran status and contract, was still given the role of closer even though it was obvious that the job was basically going to be Perez’s for the future.
This made the situation a tab bit awkward since the team was out of contention the entire time and didn’t have the guts to pay Wood his massive salary to pay the 8th inning. It was yet another classic case of the team being ignorant instead of going with the logical move by thrusting Perez into the role that was destined to be his.
When Wood finally was shipped out of town to the New York Yankees Perez took off.
In one of the most amazing performances in Indians history, Perez has allowed an earned run in just 1 of his past 29 appearances, totaling 29.2 innings. Opponents have slugged just .194 off him and he has allowed only 15 hits, albeit walking 15 batters. Check out the rest of the filthy stretch here.
For the season he has amassed an ERA of just 1.84, but his FIP is 3.64 which still rates very high. He brings mainly a 95 mph heater and slider to the bump and is primarily a flyball/strikeout pitcher, which is probably a good thing considering how porous the Indians infield defense has been this year.
At just 25, Perez is expected to finally lock up the back end of the bullpen just as Santana is going to be a rock in the middle of the order.
He has allowed only 4 bombs this year in 58.2 innings so he is avoiding the thing that ruins closers, giving up late inning home runs.
In an era when few Indians players have really separated themselves from the pack or made a name for themself around the league, Perez is firmly on track to do just that. By this time next year Perez will be joined by Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana as players who will be feared by more than just the American League Central.