Colorado Rockies: Is Oliver Perez a fit for the bullpen?

CLEVELAND, OHIO - APRIL 10: Oliver Perez #39 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during a game against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on April 10, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - APRIL 10: Oliver Perez #39 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during a game against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on April 10, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
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The Colorado Rockies bullpen, despite pitching better than they had to start the season and much better than previous years, still is one of the weak spots for the team.

Despite the fact that they have been better, Rockies manager Bud Black still said to the media before the game on Thursday that the bullpen has been the thing that has surprised him the most this year, in a bad way.

"“I think our bullpen hasn’t been as sharp as I thought it would be,” said Black. “That’s been unexpected (for me). I thought our bullpen would be better statistically and performance-wise through these first four weeks than what we’re showing.”"

The Rockies, despite having a nine-man bullpen, only has one left-handed reliever: rookie Ben Bowden.

One team that has not had many bullpen issues is the Cleveland Indians. This week, they designated left-handed reliever Oliver Perez for assignment.

Usually, teams designate players for assignment when they aren’t playing well but that wasn’t the case here. Cleveland manager Terry Francona said as much when they DFA’d him.

"“I was just having a tough time figuring out how to use him,” manager Terry Francona said to local media, including MLB.com’s Mandy Bell. “I mean, for the most part, he was kind of pitching when we were in games that were spread out. That doesn’t necessarily fit the role you want for kind of a lefty specialist. I told him last night, I said, ‘Man, I haven’t figured it out.’ When you look at teams coming up, Chicago, Kansas City, we’re not seeing opportunities where we can leverage him like we hoped.”"

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In other words, they couldn’t use him enough.

Considering that he’s a veteran (and we know that the Rockies love their veterans) and they have a bullpen that has struggled with only one lefty (who’s a rookie), why would a cheap, veteran left-handed reliever who’s a ground-ball pitcher not be a fit for the Rockies?

Perez, who will turn 40 in August, has spent the last 10 seasons as a full-time reliever after starting his career as a starter, where things didn’t pan out for him.

Since 2012, he has an ERA of 3.42 with a 3.26 FIP and a 122 ERA+ in 490 games.

Since playing with Cleveland since the start of the 2018 season, Perez has been even better as he has pitched to a 2.57 ERA, a 181 ERA+, and a 2.79 WHIP. In that span, he also has a good WHIP (1.046), and an excellent strikeout-to-walk ratio of 10.4 to 2.5 per nine innings.

In 2020, he has only appeared in 3 2/3 innings but he has not allowed a run.

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To top it off, the Rockies could claim him or trade for him and he is owed $1.25 million for the entire season so he would likely make a little over $1 million for the remainder of the year.

Getting Perez could be a low-risk, middle-to-high reward for the season and he may even get something in return if they decide to trade him at the trade deadline, particularly if they are out of contention.

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