According to FOX Sports reporters Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi, the San Francisco Giants are interested in acquiring Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez. If a deal can be arranged, the Giants will finally add a reliever to their bullpen with some personality. Heyo!
Such rumours should be greeted with much rending of garments from the San Francisco fan base. That’s not a slight against Perez, who has had a fantastic season to date, finding previously unknown levels of control and command leading to a dramatic increase in his strikeout rate and an equally impressive decrease in his walk rate. However, interest in Perez can be seen as unwelcome news for Giants supporters because even with Brian Wilson lost to injury and Guillermo Mota sitting out due to suspension, the team’s relief corps hasn’t been bad.
Yes, Santiago Casilla has struggled lately, racking up a 9.39 ERA over the last thirty days, but there are some indications that bad luck has played a role over this arbitrary period of time, given his .500 BABIP and an incredibly minuscule 52.6% strand rate over that time. On the whole, San Francisco’s team of relievers have been around league average.
While Perez would represent an improvement over the pitchers currently coming out of the bullpen, there are two more reasons why the Giants should stay away: 1) Payroll considerations next year; and 2) the cost of acquiring Perez.
As it currently stands, the Giants only have one guaranteed contract for their bullpen next season with the $4.25 million they’re committed to paying Javier Lopez. However, Brian Wilson ($8.5 million), Casilla ($2.2 million), Sergio Romo ($1.575 million) and Clay Hensley ($750,000) will all be due raises through arbitration. Also due an arbitration raise will be Perez who’s currently being paid $4.5 million for his career season. Even with the contracts to Jeremy Affeldt and Guillermo Mota coming off the books, the inclusion of Perez would represent too great of a percentage of payroll being taken up by the bullpen.
According to the report, the Indians are only willing to trade their closer because of the relief depth they enjoy combined with the expected salary demands for his second year of arbitration eligibility next season. With Cleveland hoping to compete in 2013, they’re not nearly as interested in acquiring prospects as they are in young, Major League ready talent.
From what area can the Giants afford to give that up? Anyone of such value is already contributing at the Major League level, or, in the case of Brandon Belt, should be allowed to contribute at the Major League level. And thus we come to the MLB Trading Deadline Conundrum (TM): Anyone of any value to a contending team will cost Major League ready talent, but because said team is a contender, they’re most likely using Major League talent and most unlikely to be willing to part with the talent from their already contending roster.