The Dodgers' quest for depth and experience in the bullpen continues with the rumored addition of yet another former closer to the current relief corps. Free agent right-hander Chris Perez is close to a one-year contract with the Dodgers, per Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
On Monday, the deal was reported as $2.25 million in guaranteed salary per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer said $2.3 million, as did Hernandez, while Jon Heyman of CBS Sports said between $2-2.5 million), with performance bonuses of roughly $3.75 million if he is a setup man plus another $2 million if he ends up closing games (in contract parlance, the only such bonus allowed is games finished).
Perez made $7.3 million in 2013. He would have been eligible for salary arbitration in 2014 but was released by the Indians on Oct. 31.
Perez, 28, was 5-3 with a 4.33 ERA in 54 games and converted 25 of 30 save opportunities in 2013. He struck out 54 and walked 21 in 54 innings last year, and was an American League All-Star in 2011 and 2012. Perez saved 123 games in the last four seasons, which doesn't make him unique among Dodgers relief pitchers.
Kenley Jansen will close, and has 53 saves in the last two seasons and 62 saves in his career. Brian Wilson, who signed a one-year deal plus a player option to return to the Dodgers, has 171 career saves, and Brandon League has 74 saves. Even J.P. Howell, the left-hander whose two-year contract has yet to be officially announced by the team, has 21 career saves.
The collection of depth is all part of the plan for general manager Ned Colletti, who after the signing of Wilson on Dec. 7 foreshadowed his interest for adding more experience to the bullpen.
"Somebody that can pitch the seventh, eighth inning, sometimes the ninth. It's like adding hitters to the middle of a lineup," Colletti said two weeks ago. "If you're building a bullpen, and add guys who can handle any role that you have back there, especially those late-inning ones, you're stronger for it."
Perez allowed 11 home runs in 2013, equaling his total for the previous two seasons combined, contributing to career-worst marks in WHIP (1.426) and FIP (5.08). But his home runs per fly ball was at 20%, double his career average of 10%.
Once the deals for Juan Uribe, Howell, and potentially Perez are officially announced, the Dodgers will have 39 players on the 40-man roster.