The saga of Chris Perez making inflammatory statements continued last week as the Indians closer offered his unflattering opinions of the Tribe’s ownership and front office personnel. This round of quotes may have been his most polarizing yet; many Cleveland fans are thrilled with Perez for calling his employers out for their mistakes, while team personnel are obviously displeased.
In this edition of the Weekly Wroundtable, we asked our panel: Was Chris Perez right to call out the front office and ownership? Joining us this week as a guest contributor is Did The Tribe Win Last Night?‘s Vince Guerrieri.
Vince Guerrieri (Did The Tribe Win Last Night?): Chris Perez didn’t say anything that was incorrect when he popped off about the Indians’ management’s unwillingness to shell out for high-priced free agents. The Indians faded fast from the Carlos Beltran Sweepstakes in the offseason, but even if they signed him, he can still only play one position at a time. Left field was a mess, the corner infield spots were far from solid, and the Indians desperately needed another decent starter.
As I said earlier this week, the bulk of the Indians’ problems stem from a marked inability to draft well in the past decade. The Indians put together good teams only when their homegrown talent produces. So Perez isn’t telling us anything that anyone who’s been paying attention doesn’t already know. And I don’t think he’s telling management anything they don’t already know either. The question is do they care? Good teams and profitable teams aren’t the same thing.
I’m not the type of person who would air dirty laundry in public, so it’s not the type of thing I’d say. But then again, I’m not near the top of the American League in saves. Perez has been a loose cannon all year, and one can only infer that he’s mouthing off to give management – the same people he blasted – further incentive to deal him.
So his statements are right – for him. For the rest of us? Well, let’s see what he can bring on the open market.
Evan Vogel: Chris Perez has the right to say whatever he wants to as an American citizen, and Indians fans should be thanking their lucky stars that someone within the organization was man enough to say what they all wanted to say. The owner is cheap, the management has made terrible decisions on drafts and trades, and the future looks dim because of that.
Want to know why Shin-Soo Choo and Scott Boras haven’t reached out for an extension heading into the final year of his deal? Because everyone knows that it is a waste of time, especially the player and agent. When players know how things work and they work as poorly as they do, they feel the way that Chris Perez does. If you took an anonymous poll of the current roster, no fewer than 90% of the players would agree.
While he basically punched his ticket out of town with his comments, good for him. He’ll be pitching for a better organization from the top-down because he voiced his displeasure. Chris Perez did what was right for him and that is perfectly acceptable.
Katie Hendershot: Regardless of whether or not I agree with his statements, I don’t believe that Chris Perez was right to call out the front office and ownership. He is entitled to his opinion, and this season, we’ve learned a lot about what Perez thinks. No one is happy with the way this season played out, from the fans, to the front office, to the players. I doubt Perez is the only player on the roster that holds strong feelings toward the financial situation of the team, but he’s the only one vocalizing it.
He has a bold personality, that’s not news. To an extent, I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but I don’t think it’s good behavior for a player to repeatedly call out the decision-makers in an organization. Earlier this year, I believed that Perez’ statements were acceptable, but this time I think he went too far. In light of other recent escapades, I think he really overstepped a barrier this time. To me, it seems like he’s doing everything he can to get traded over the offseason.
Lewie Pollis: Chris Perez’ job is to throw baseballs. He throws them really really fast and makes them hard for batters to hit. That’s his area of expertise. But being one of the best human beings in the world at throwing a small spherical object over a small white pentagon means nothing about his knowledge of how best to put together a baseball team.
Forget the political incorrectness of bashing his employer and implicitly throwing the rest of his teammates under the bus—most of his attacks were off the mark. Praising Mike Ilitch for his indiscriminate spending? Complaining that the Indians didn’t anticipate Josh Willingham having a career year at age 33? Completely ignoring the role that pathetic attendance figures (which had been the subject of another one of his tirades) play in the Tribe’s financial woes? Perez is a quick draw, but he isn’t a very good shot.
Chris Perez didn’t say anything new or substantive, nor did he offer any penetrating insight. Yes, it was what Tribe fans wanted to hear, but baseball teams aren’t run from the bleachers. His taking cheap shots just to stir up trouble doesn’t earn him brownie points in my book.
Ed Carroll: I applaud Chris Perez for being a seemingly intelligent athlete who speaks his mind. But his recent tirade to Jon Morosi was wrong, mostly because Perez isn’t saying anything new here, and he’s off on a few things, namely his comparison of the Cleveland ownership situation to the Detroit ownership situation.
But the Indians’ aren’t blameless here; they allowed this to happen when they didn’t suspend Perez for his ugly verbal altercation in Oakland with an Athletics’ fan. That was the team’s chance to send a message to Perez, and now he’s out of control. It’d be dumb for the Indians to silence him now, as it would just look bad for the team, but Perez really isn’t doing his trade value any favors trying to force himself out the door. Now, all the Indians can do is watch the flames of the fire they allowed to start.
Brian Heise: While the things Chris Perez had to say in regards to the front office and ownership had some merit to them, that doesn’t mean he should have said them. While I agreed wholeheartedly that the front office and ownership have done a poor job of using their limited finances to the best of their abilities, that’s that type of talk that should be left to the fans, not the players.
Perez came off looking really bad, that he’s a know it all whose better able to scout players than the actual scouts themselves (admittedly, this might be true looking at the farm system), and only helped stir the rumors that he doesn’t want to be a member of the Cleveland Indians come 2013. What better way to do that then by bashing your boss and going out in a blaze of glory?
I will say this though, despite the things he said, Perez is still one of the few members of this team that I feel like goes out and gives it his all every time he takes the field. His performance more than backs that up.