As if things couldn’t possibly go from bad to worse.
Looking for the slightest bit of good news to help get them through a rough stretch that has seen them lose seven out of there last ten games, the Indians were dealt another major blow on Wednesday. All-Star closer Chris Perez is now being investigated by authorities after a package containing a controlled substance was delivered to Perez’s Rocky River home. The controlled substance is believed to be Marijuana, but authorities have yet to confirm that report.
This comes as a huge blow for both Perez and the Indians. Perez is no stranger to controversy, often lobbing verbal jabs at fans through the media. It is an act that has grown tiresome to some and this latest controversy will do little to help rectify an already rocky relationship with a fan base that is constantly bordering on the edge of bitter and cynical. Even if he is found innocent of any wrong doing in this incident, it is unlikely that the fans will be willing to welcome him back with open arms.
Meanwhile, the Indians were already in a precarious situation with Perez. His value had never been higher following a fantastic season in 2012. It was so fantastic that many observers, Wahoo’s on First included, felt that Perez should have been traded during the winter in exchange for a hefty package in return. Vinnie Pestano was waiting in the wings as the closer of the future and the Indians could trade away an area of strength in order to improve an area of need. Given the ever increasing belief that closers are important, many feel that Perez may have reaped quite the return.
Unfortunately, the Indians failed to pull the trigger. Now, they may be stuck with a player who has looked like a shell of his former self this season and now is dealing with legal troubles in addition to shoulder issues. That sound you just heard off in the distance was Perez’s market value being smashed into oblivion.
Odds are teams will not be lining up to trade anything of significant value for a closer with a bum shoulder and potentially facing felony drug charges. That’s not a deal you make, at least during the season.The best the Indians can hope for now is that Perez is exonerated from any wrong doing, a very realistic possibility, and that he comes back from the DL completely healthy and looking like the 2012 version of himself. If he can do that, then perhaps there is a chance the Indians can flip Perez in the offseason for something of value.
There is also the chance that Perez is cleared from any and all wrong doing, again this remains to be seen as authorities are still gathering all of the facts, and then comes back from the DL completely healthy and ready to resume his role as full-time closer. If that happens, it does benefit the Indians in regards to placing everyone back into their previously defined roles – roles in which most of them were very successful. Perez making a comeback allows Smith and Pestano to take back their seventh and eighth inning roles, Cody Allen moves back into a set-up long relief role, even the match-up lefties go back to being just that, match-up lefties.
However, until the investigation against Perez is concluded we may be left with more questions than answers, which is fine. In the meantime the Indians can rely on Pestano to close things out in the ninth inning. In that regard it allows the Indians to see whether or not Pestano has the mental makeup to go along with the physical tools to be the team’s full-time closer of the future.
Personally, I hope Perez is cleared of any and all wrong doing and that somehow this is all a mistake caused by the previous residents of the property. While Perez might not always say things in the most tactful of ways, he is one of the guys who legitimately gives a damn. There is no question that when he takes the mound he is giving it his all. That’s something you can never have enough of.