Dodgers closing in with Chris Perez on 1-year deal, but is he the best available?

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The Dodgers have apparently found the seventh-inning former closer they’ve been seeking, as they are close on a one-year deal with former Indians closer Chris Perez, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

The Dodgers are closing in on a one-year contract with former All-Star closer Chris Perez, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke under the condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been finalized. Financial terms of the prospective deal aren’t known.

Inevitably, the question of whether or not he’s an actual improvement over Ronald Belisario will come up, and it already has. But there’s another name that might get nudged out with this acquisition (besides Jose Dominguez*).

*Fine to send him down. He provides quality depth, gets time to work on command, and has options.

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It’s a one-year deal, so it’s hard to complain about the signing in terms of anything but opportunity cost, but that’s exactly where the problem might arise.

And yes, the pitcher I was talking about was Jamey Wright, because he wants a major-league deal and the Dodgers previously had interest. When I informed my dad of this signing, he remarked, “Well, at least it’s not Jamey Wright.” Initially I agreed, but it’s not nearly as clear-cut as I thought, and Wright has actually been superior the past two years.

As far as Belisario, I personally worried if the Dodgers ran his arm into the ground, so there was that concern. But there’s always the off-the-field questions as well, though I doubt Perez eases that concern.

I don’t care that Perez and his wife smoke weed, I DO care that he was dumb/goofy enough to: 1) order weed from the mail 2) address it to his dog. Also, the fact that he’s sort of nuts/dumb will either be awesome or horrible, or both. Hopefully him being out of Cleveland will mean he stops whining about management when he was part of the problem and not the answer. I do, however, hope he continues to projectile vomit after innings.

But focusing solely on baseball, my primary issue with choosing Perez is that unlike Brian Wilson, he doesn’t have an elite upside to fallback on. Even in his 1.71 ERA season in 2010, his FIP was 3.56 and his SIERA was a career-average 3.59. He just stranded baserunners at a career-high rate (86.0%) and was extremely fortunate (.222 BABIP). Furthermore, his fastball velocity fell last year by over one mph, making him a lot more hittable. So at best, choosing between the trio seems like a crapshoot between solid middle relievers, and one could easily argue Perez is the worst of the three.

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