- Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer
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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Chris Perez, the Cleveland Indians' perpetually outspoken closer, made some pointed observations about former manager Manny Acta at the end of last season in October. It's now been four months since the Indians fired Acta and replaced him with Terry Francona, but the passage of time hasn't dulled Perez's ardor on the subject.
Perez said he wondered about his future with the organization after his name had appeared in numerous trade rumors. But his mind was eased after the Indians relieved Acta of his duties with six games to go, hired Francona as a replacement and spent $117 million in guaranteed money on free agents this offseason.
"I was wondering where we were going,'' Perez said. "Stuff wasn't getting better with Manny as our manager. I didn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. He's very stubborn and he doesn't really use input well, so I was getting frustrated. I thought, 'If we have the same guy next year, it's going to be the same stuff.'
"When Francona came on board, that kind of changed the mindset. To me, that signaled that I have a good chance of staying here. Then he came and sat down with me in Tampa [Fla.] and that cemented it even more. With the moves we made, we're not rebuilding. We're here to win this year.''