2014 Dodgers In Review: RP Chris Perez

MLB 49 46.1 19.5% 12.5% 4.27 5.07 4.89 -0.8

What Happened In 2014: Challenged the perception that there’s no such thing as a bad one-year deal.

I don’t really remember writing this, but apparently last winter, two weeks before the Dodgers signed Chris Perez, I wrote that “the declining Perez terrifies me in every way,” and, well, yep. In January, Brim put a bunch of math into trying to figure out if Perez or Brandon League could be useful:

The bad news is that the numbers don’t point to either pitcher to be very good. Their career averages aren’t anything special, and projection systems don’t think they’ll recover much beyond replacement level. Both pitchers had concerning drops in fastball velocity last season, and Perez’ shoulder could still be a concern going forward. Neither pitcher has career numbers very far from league average. Their saves masked the actual numbers behind them.

This isn’t going to get better. I’m sorry. We honestly didn’t talk about Perez that much for the first half of the year, because low-leverage relievers who are bad but not so bad that they lose their jobs generally don’t get a lot of press. Until June 16, that was, when I questioned why he even still had a roster spot:

But it also means that there’s really no reason why the Dodgers can’t cut him and move on, and there’s very little that indicates that they shouldn’t, especially after he faced six Diamondbacks yesterday and allowed five to reach. After a lousy end to his Cleveland career, Perez has been even worse this year, putting up career-worst marks in, well, just about everything. It’s not velocity-related — if anything, he’s throwing harder — but it’s not a good sign that he’s:

  •  allowing more flyballs (45.8 percent) than he has since 2011
    • inducing fewer groundballs (30.6 percent) than he has since 2011
    • throwing fewer strikes (50.3 percent) than he ever has
    • putting up easily the worst FIP- (152) of his career

When you look at the results, it’s difficult to hold out hope. His FIP of 5.42 is only the 21st-worst of pitchers with at least 20 innings, but it actually looks worse than that if you dive into that list. Mike Pelfrey, Ivan Nova, Brad Hand, and Tanner Scheppershave all been injured. Wandy Rodriguez, Dan Straily, Franklin Morales, Josh Lueke, and Brandon Gomes have already lost their jobs. Marco Estrada might soonNick Martinez and Rafael Montero are rookies. It’s hard to be this bad and continue to be in the big leagues.

That post is basically his season in review right there, because where else can you go from there? You could fast forward a few weeks to July 22, a game I referred to as “The Dumbest Game In The History Of Baseball,” with only a small amount of hyperbole:

Chris Perez entered in the bottom of the eighth, because tonight apparently was all about the island of misfit relievers, and, well, if you didn’t see it yourself, you wouldn’t believe me. Perez got Michael Martinez to pop out, but then walked Polanco.

And Snyder.

And McCutchen.

And Walker.

It was the first time in over 25 years that a Dodger pitcher walked four consecutive batters, and for as annoyed as I am with Perez that he could be so awful as to do such a thing, I’m also annoyed that Don Mattingly allowed him to. I’m assuming there’s a reason; perhaps no one was warm in time to get him out of the game. I couldn’t tell from the broadcast. I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve been calling for Perez to be let go for several weeks now, and there’s no more reason to delay. It can’t be for Paco Rodriguez, who must wait 10 days to be recalled unless someone is injured, but it could be for Pedro Baez or Jose Dominguez. I don’t even care who. It’s just time to make the move.

Or as Twitter called it while watching that mess…

…which is true! This is probably true. Perez got into a few more games and then went on the disabled list in early August with bone spurs in his ankle. When he came back in September, he actually had seven straight scoreless innings, which made me worry he’d actually make the playoff roster, but that crisis was averted. Perez was never really that good in the first place, but TEH SAVEZ in Cleveland made people think he was. Glad we’ve got that sorted out.

2015 status: Perez is a free agent, with no chance of returning to the Dodgers, and likely to settle for a non-roster invite somewhere.

About Mike Petriello

Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.