Chris Perez signed with the Dodgers knowing that with Kenley Jansen and Brian Wilson, the Dodgers had their closer and main set up pitcher already in place.
"We know who the guys are in the back end, so I am just trying to fit in," Perez said. "I signed over here knowing the situation already."
The right-hander was originally drafted by the Cardinals in the supplemental first round in 2006 out of the University of Miami.
Perez started his professional career in the Midwest League where he appeared in 25 games. In 2008, he pitched in 54 games, 39 of those in the Texas League and then 15 more in the for Memphis in the Pacific Coast League. In those 54 games, he had 35 saves with 77 strikeouts in 54⅓ innings pitched.
Perez made his MLB debut on May 16, 2008, nine days before his now teammate and fellow 2006 draftee, Clayton Kershaw. Perez appeared in 41 games for the Cardinals that season, saving 7 games.
On June 27, 2009, Perez was traded with Jess Todd to Cleveland for Mark DeRosa. It was in Cleveland where Perez's career would begin to flourish.
After pitching in middle relief for the rest of the 2009 season, Perez became the closer during the 2010 season. He would collect 26, 36 and 39 saves in 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively. In both 2011 and 2012, Perez was selected as an All-Star.
In 2013, Perez had 25 saves in 54 appearances but he also allowed 11 home runs in 54 innings after allowing only 11 home runs in the combined 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Perez spoke to Jon Weisman and said that his health was a major factor to his poor start in 2013.
Once I got healthy in the second half of the year, I went back to my normal arm slot," [Perez] said. "But I had been pitching three of four months from different arm slots. I was in between arm slots, which is tough to do, especially in my role last year as a closer. ... This year, coming in healthy, I'm back to my normal arm slot and hopefully it stays there all year."
Perez was in his last year of arbitration-eligibility but the Indians released him as he had just made $7.3M in 2013 and could have earned more in his sixth year of service time had they kept him.
Instead, Perez will make $2.3 million in 2014 with the Dodgers.
Perez added, "this is just a good opportunity to be on a good time and try to accomplish some good stuff."
Although Perez had spent the last four plus years in the AL, he has a plan of what he'll do in the National League, "I don't really change my approach to who I am facing anyway, If I make good pitches, set them up right, usually be successful. It is a good thing, them knowing me."
Perez spoke about two of his pitches you are likely to see most often this season, Perez said he that his slider has worked really well in the last couple of seasons. "It breaks kind of late and it's hard. I throw it to lefties and righties, I can backdoor it to lefties."
Perez also said "I like to throw a lot of fastballs, I feel that this is my best pitch while my slider is my out pitch."
The 124 saves by Perez in Cleveland rank third in franchise history, behind only Bob Wickman (139 saves) and Doug Jones (129).
Chris Perez signed a one-year deal on Dec. 24 for $2.3 million, plus performance bonuses that could amount to as high as $3.7 million if he is a setup man plus another $2 million if he ends up finishing games.
|2014 projections - Age 28 season|
I predict 52 innings pitched with a 20.2%/7.1% strikeout to walk pct., how about you?