The Cleveland Indians re-signed lefty reliever Oliver Perez to a one-year deal with a vesting option for 2020 as well. The deal will guarantee Perez a $2.5MM salary for the upcoming season and the vesting option can be worth $2.75MM if he pitches in 55 games or $3MM if he pitches in 60 games or more.
Perez, 37, will be entering his 17th big league season which has seen him pitch for eight different teams. Perez has pitched exclusively as a reliever over the past seven seasons after originally beginning his career as a starter. It is safe to say that Perez has been average at best in recent years and did not even sign a big league deal last season, instead taking a minor league deal with the Yankees to start the year. Eventually Perez found his way to the Indians and had a surprising year which saw him pitch to a stellar 1.39 ERA over 51 appearances while totaling 32.1 innings. Not only was his ERA spectacular but he struck out 43 batters while only walking 7 which comes out to 12 K/9 and a very impressive stat of 6.14 strikeouts-to-walks. Those numbers are likely not sustainable for the veteran lefty but Cleveland is hopeful he can come close to those numbers by bringing him back on a low cost deal.
The Indians have been pretty quiet this off season other then the on and off trade rumors surrounding their starting pitchers. Many believe that Cleveland feels like they do not have much of a threat in the division as the Tigers are in a clear rebuild, the Twins are not ready to contend, the White Sox are still a year or two away, and the Royals are also in sort of a rebuild. So with the Indians being the clear favorite they must feel happy with their team and feel no pressure to add anymore pieces or take on anymore salary commitments this year. That being said, they did acquire Jake Bauers in the three team deal that sent Yonder Alonso to the White Sox as well as swapping veterans Edwin Encarnacion for Carlos Santana before re-signing Perez. At the same time they have lost two bullpen pieces in former closer Cody Allen and dominant lefty Andrew Miller. There is still time for the Tribe to add another arm if they feel the need to.