Cleveland (WOIO) - The champagne wasn't even dry yet in Boston, but in Cleveland, the clock was already ticking, and Chris Antonetti was making moves. One day after the Boston Red Sox clinched their third World Series title in ten years, and the Major League Baseball season was officially in the books, the Indians' changes began, with Chris Perez the first to go.
Hard to believe how quickly things went south for Perez, an All-Star in 2011 and 2012, and a lightning rod on and off the field in 2013. On the field, he struggled through an injury, blew big saves, and eventually lost his closer role. Off the field, he'd angered Tribe fans in the summer of 2012 with his on-target yet outspoken criticism of the lack of attendance at Progressive Field, and then made headlines, and the police blotter, in 2013 with the marijuana delivery to his house. The timing couldn't have been worse.
I always liked dealing with Perez. He was honest, candid, willing to tackle controversial topics. At least until this summer, when, angry at the local media, he stopped talking to Cleveland reporters, even after blowing big saves, leaving the responsibility to explain those heartbreaking losses to his teammates. The rest of the Indians tried to downplay the effect that had in the clubhouse, but it had to wear thin, with the players, and the front office.
There was no way Perez could stay with the Tribe. He needs a fresh start, and the Indians need a more reliable, less dramatic closer. And Thursday, they proved that they're not wasting any time.