Former Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez has called it quits after an interesting seven seasons in the Majors. His last appearance was in relief for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014. His retirement was confirmed by the International League transaction page.
If you have already forgotten about him, purposefully pushed his memory out of your brain, or just started watching the Indians because of Francisco Lindor, Chris Perez was the Tribe’s closer from 2010 to 2013. He originally debuted with the Cardinals in 2008 but was brought over to the Indians along with Jess Todd in exchange for Mark DeRosa.
Statistically speaking, Perez "peaked" in 2012, throwing 57.2 innings with a 3.59 ERA, 3.34 FIP, and 9.21 strikeouts per nine innings. He was worth 0.9 fWAR that year and tallied 39 saves in the closer role for the Tribe's "Bullpen Mafia."
But statistics are not really what will be remembered with Perez. During Perez’s two All-Star seasons in 2011 and 2012, he frequently criticized Indians fans for not showing up to games to support their team. Right or wrong, criticizing fans is usually not a way to win over your home city, especially when you are a closer -- a position where people take extra notice when you screw up. It just so happens that in 2013 he began to screw up a lot. His ERA skyrocketed to 4.33, his FIP to 5.08, and a career-high 20% of fly balls hit off Perez were home runs. It was not pretty, and the Indians parted ways with the battered then 28-year-old after the season.
Those factors, combined with his dog's insatiable need for marijuana, were ultimately what caused the split with the Indians, and likely hurt his future prospects with other teams. He had a short stint in 2014 with the Los Angeles Dodgers on an incentive-laden contract, but it was only a one-year deal and he was not re-signed. Perez also opted out of a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers prior to the 2015 season and was signed on with the Baltimore Orioles Triple-A affilate team when his retirement was made official earlier today. He was also currently serving a 50-game suspension for his second violation of the league's substance abuse policy.