This is one of those frustrating trade rumors - one that sound entirely reasonable… but one in which no one should hold their breath about, either.
CBS’ Jon Heyman reports that the Braves have contacted Seattle about reliever Oliver Perez. They aren’t the only team to have done so, but in any event, Seattle is being very coy about him and other possible trade chips that they have.
Perez, a Scott Boras client, is signed only through this season. His $1.5 million deal is definitely affordable, and his age (almost 32) would suggest to the casual observer that the time is ripe to cash in on the successes he has enjoyed out west over the past two seasons. In 2012, Perez pitched in 33 games, posting a 2.12 ERA over a modest 29.2 innings. This year, he has bettered that with a 1.89 ERA through 33.1 innings. He is also striking out a ton of hitters (12.4 per 9 innings) and walking few enough to avoid most control concerns (3.8 per 9). For Atlanta, this would be a perfect solution: a lefty fire-baller would could spell Jordan Walden in his setup role or come in for situational relief.
Yes, I’m actually saying this about a pitcher whose career ERA hovered around 5.00 until 2012. But he got a lot better after leaving the Mets.
Seattle’s GM – Jack Zduriencik – tried desperately in the past off-season to improve his club through both trades and free-agency, famously working a deal for Justin Upton despite the fact that Seattle was on his Do Not Ask/Do Not Trade list. Jack Z also was in the hunt for Josh Hamilton and Michael Bourn, then finally landed both Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales in deals with Washington and the Angels, respectively.
Publicly, Zduriencik is apparently saying things like he doesn’t wish to trade away his major league veteran nucleus – players like Perez, Raul Ibanez, and Morales – for fear of tanking their 40-50 record even further.
Uh, Jack? While I might be able to understand hanging onto Morales, you seriously think that the 41-year-old Ibanez is one of your lynchpins for the future? And you have a chance to flip both him and/or a reliever for a couple of decent prospects? Especially before Perez walks away for nothing at the end of the year?
My vote here is that he’s not really that stupid. But nor should he wait until July 31st to dump these guys, either. Stay tuned… but don’t wait up for this one, either.