After the Los Angeles Dodgers re-signed veteran left-handed reliever J.P. Howell to a two-year deal, GM Ned Colletti said he was still in the market for a “high-profile middle reliever”. The likes of Grant Balfour and Fernando Rodney were floated, but Colletti opted to sign reliever Chris Perez to a one-year deal.
Perez was released by the Cleveland Indians prior to the off-season due to his performance on and off the field. The 28-year-old right-hander accumulated over 120 saves in four seasons as the closer and will help bolster an improving Dodgers bullpen. ESPN.com and SiriusXM baseball analyst Jim Bowden ranked his seven most underrated moves and Perez signing ranked fourth:
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has built up some impressive bullpen depth, and having Perez — who has 132 career saves and an ERA of 3.41 — pitching in front of Brian Wilson and Kenley Jansen will make the team tough to beat late in games.
Colletti said he told Perez that Jansen is the closer and when he’s unavailable, it’ll be Wilson who gets the save opportunities. Battling a shoulder injury last season, Perez saw his velocity drop and his ERA balloon to 4.33. He had a 1.43 WHIP while his HR/9 jumped to 1.8.
His addition means the Dodgers have four closers in their bullpen between Jansen, Wilson, him and Brandon League. Perez will likely battle with Chris Withrow for the seventh inning job as the bullpen seems overly crowded at the moment.
Many believed the Dodgers were adding relievers in an effort to trade one, but Colletti maintains that isn’t his intention right now. With one of the best pitching staffs in baseball and now a strong bullpen, the Dodgers have seemingly shrunk games until the seventh inning. While the jury is still out on whether or not Perez can bounce back, it looks like a low-risk, high reward signing by Colletti.
ICYMI: The Dodgers and Chris Perez agreed to a one-year deal