Acquisitions

Free Agent Pass or Play: Chris Perez

We are officially in CRUNCH TIME – under 72 hours until the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a player who will be able to sign with any team at that time. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with right-handed reliever Chris Perez. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance

Chris Perez emerged out of practically nowhere in 2010 for the Cleveland Indians, transforming from average young reliever to lights out closer, posting  1.72 ER and a 1.079 WHIP. Since then, Perez has made two All-Star games. But a look at his stats tell a different picture: a steadily climbing ERA, a WHIP that has climbed a half base runner from 2010 to 2013, and skyrocketing HR/FB has left Perez out in the cold, being cut by Cleveland yesterday. Perez had made $7.3 million as an arbitration-eligible player in 2013 and was projected to make around $9 million in 2014.

Perez’s career splits are pretty even, however, much of his decline in performance in 2013 came from an inability to get lefties out at the rate he was used to doing, including allowing a lot of extra base hits. His splits (.286/.352/.564 v. lefties against .222/.327/.348 v. righties) show a young pitcher with a platoon advantage.

Fit

As mentioned yesterday when talking about Joe Nathan and Jose Veras, the Phillies’ bullpen was ranked 14th out of 15th in ERA, FIP, and xFIP in the National League last season and there are not a ton of promising bullpen arms that the Phillies haven’t yet seen in the Majors. Unlike both Nathan and Veras, Perez is a bit of a question mark: is he a league-average reliever or a below-league average reliever? Despite being a two-time All-Star, the 28-year old still hasn’t defined that for good, yet.

Cost

Steamer projections have Perez worth 0.0 fWAR in 2014 so it is tough to put a number on him. If I had to guess, based on similar players with similar pedigrees, Perez could end up with a $4-5 million one year deal.

Feasibility

Perez looks like the classic Ruben Amaro trap: like Delmon Young, he still has relative youth and he has somewhat of a track record. Like Young, he will appear to most casual observers as somewhat of a no-risk, high-reward pick up. While I do not believe in Perez is as bad as he was last year, I do not think he is as good as he was in 2010, either. To pay someone $4 million to essentially be Justin De Fratus would be kind of weird, but it could happen.

Verdict: Pass

I would pass on Perez. Perez has slowly regressed in most categories and is once again a league-average or worse reliever like he was when he broke into MLB with the Cardinals in 2008. This certainly has “Amaro Trap” written all over it, though.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Hogey's Role

    November 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Maybe one year for 4 million I would sign him as a 7th/8th inning guy

    • EricL

      November 2, 2013 at 9:44 pm

      That’s way too much for a team that already has Diekman/Bastardo as quality 8th inning guys, De Fratus as a 7th/8th inning guy and Rosenberg/Stutes/etc. as 6th inning guys. Plus whatever they get out of Mike Adams (which could be nothing)

      • Hogey's Role

        November 2, 2013 at 10:52 pm

        Yeah look at how well that combo worked for us in 2013…. Outstanding

      • EricL

        November 3, 2013 at 10:05 am

        Well, when Bastardo pitched he pitched very well. Unfortunately he wasn’t allowed to pitch for the last 1/3rd of the season, but that has no effect on him this year.

        Diekman was also really, really good, particularly against LHB. Diekman struck out 25% of the batters he faced and walked fewer than 10%. He really harnessed his control this season and has the makings of a dominant reliever.

        De Fratus had an okay season (though better than Chris Perez), but also got better as the season went along. In the first half he struck out 18% of batters faced while walking 14%. In the second half he struck out 21% of the batters he faced while cutting his walks down to only 10%. That’s good enough for the 7th inning when you’ve already got Papelbon, Bastardo and Diekman ahead of him on the BP depth chart.

        This team has too many other holes to be spending $4 million dollars on a guy for the 6th/7th inning.

    • hk

      November 3, 2013 at 10:53 am

      Hogey,

      What makes you think Perez would be better than Bastardo and/or Diekman and/or that he’d be worth $4M? Other than one fluky year when his ERA was 1.71 while all of his peripheral stats showed he didn’t pitch as well as that ERA, he’s basically been a high 3’s ERA pitcher.

      PASS

      • Hogey's Role

        November 3, 2013 at 11:08 am

        I don’t think he is or isn’t better than bastardo or diekman as a matter of fact I like both of those lefties, which is what they both are…. And our bullpen over the past 2 years has been terrible to say the least, I don’t really like Perez all that much, but I think if we added him to our bullpen it would lengthen our pen a little bit and perhaps make the Bp a little stronger and of all the options out there he isn’t the worst available, and certainly not the most expensive….
        Defratus, stutes, and Adams all have injury related history, so why not add another piece to the bullpen and see if he can help…. Is it the money thing, what do you care it’s not your money, and if we end up over the luxury tax by 4 million, I don’t think that would be our biggest problem

  2. hk

    November 3, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    I think all of these Pass or Play exercises have to be done under the premise of the team having a budget <= the luxury tax limit. In that realm, $4M on Perez would likely be a waste, just like the $6M per year on Adams. In the "It's not my money" realm, why waste money on Perez when you can sign Nathan and Crain for the bullpen?

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