Perez, a right-handed bullpen pitcher has served as the Indians closer since 2010. Ever since conforming Perez to the ninth inning role combined with his "super 2" status, has made Perez ever-increasingly expensive. Relievers are overvalued in the current MLB market; sometimes more often by arbitrators who weight saves as more important than true markers of success for bullpen pitchers. This combination has led to Perez's new 1-year contract of $7.3 million, which equates to about 1.33 fWins. Perez is young, and entering what can be the most fruitful years of a pitcher's career, meaning that he should be able to pitch up to, or at least close to, his annual average value. Since becoming the closer, Perez has accrued 1.6 fWins in 3 seasons for an average Fwins/season of 0.5 fWins. 0.5 Fwins is worth only $2.75 million, which is 38% of what he will be paid this year. Well, if it's so obvious that Perez won't be worth his 2013 contract based on his past performance, so is he set to improve to the point that he will?
Given that we have now proven that Perez's $7.3 million salary is quite inflated, even assuming some improvement, the next question to ask is why have the Indians not considered trading Perez. The Indians, while improving their status this offseason, haven't made significant enough improvements to put them in the discussion for possible playoff team. This fact only adds to my confusion as to why Indians GM Chris Antonetti didn't make a deal to move Perez before coming to a 1-year deal. Now, it is completely possible that the Indians decide to trade Perez now, after setting a definite price tag to him, but that possibility is logically outweighed by the chance that that the Indians go into 2013 with Perez in their bullpen. Given Perez's soft numbers, it's possible that Antonetti wants to wait and see if Perez's stock rises before flipping him so as to receive the best possible package in return.
During the 2012 season 2 other "big time" relievers swapped teams, Jonathan Broxton and Brandon League. League went to LA for 2 prospects, one an outfielder with some upside and the other a relief pitcher who made double A last season, but struggles with his control. Broxton was moved in exchange for Donnie Joseph and J.C. Sulbaran. Josepth is a lefty specialist out of the bullpen who has put up very good numbers in AA and AAA, leading the Royals to put him on their 40-man roster heading into 2013. Sulbaran projects as a 4 or 5 starter who has the build to be an innings eater and the numbers to back it up. Both Broxton and League were under less team control than Perez, but both performed better than Perez prior to being traded. In 2011, 3 comparable relievers were traded midseason and 2 in the offseason, all yielding similar packages in return with the exception of the swap between the Rangers and the Blue Jays. In that deal, which was made in the offseason, the Blue Jays sent catcher Mike Napoli to the Rangers in exchange for reliever Frank Francisco. This was just prior to Napoli's power surge, making the deal very skewed in Texas' favor.
In the offseason, MLB lovers grasp onto anything to quell their desire for Baseball given the lack of games being played. This includes looking for a trade wherever possible, and over-analyzing every move made from the flashiest to the most diminutive. Anyone who works in an MLB front office has to be immune to such temptations because oftentimes it is not skill, guile, or competitiveness that leads to the best results, but good timing. MLB General Managers and their staff's have to act as stock traders, timing the market at the precise time so as to cash in for the best possible return. Antonetti and the Indians seem to be waiting patiently, asking for too much and fending off lesser offers for Perez now, hoping to time the market perfectly later to and get the high caliber prospect they are looking for in return for Perez. Such patience should be admired, as some GM's due to pressure from all sorts of sources often jump the gun and make a hasty trade that backfires with ease. The Mariners recent trade for Michael Morse marks a good example of such a move. The Indians know Perez is not worth the money they are paying him right now, but in due time, he may reap benefits they hadn't even though possible.