Chris Perez critical of management
Perez had some harsh words about the Indians ownership and front office in a FoxSports.com story about the success of small-market clubs.
You get what you pay for in baseball. Sometimes you don't. But most of the time you do.” -- Indians closer Chris Perez.
One of the topics Perez touched on was pointing out the difference between Indians owner Larry Dolan and Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch, who has been known to be aggressive in the free-agent market.
"Different owners," Perez is quoted as saying in the FoxSports.com story. "It comes down to that. [The Tigers] are spending money. [Ilitch] wants to win. Even when the economy was down [in Detroit], he spent money. He's got a team to show for it. You get what you pay for in baseball. Sometimes you don't. But most of the time you do."
The Tigers, contenders in the AL Central, opened the season with a $133.5 million payroll, while the struggling Indians started at $65 million.
Perez's criticism was not just at Dolan. He also insinuated that general manager Chris Antonetti needs to a do a better job of picking the right players. The FOX story pointed to how small-market GMs have a smaller margin for error when it comes to trading their key players.
"You can't miss," Perez said. "You have to be right. That's why I say it's not just ownership. They don't make the trades. It's the GMs. It goes hand in hand. The GMs can only spend the money the owners give them, but they pick who they spend it on or who they don't. They pick. The owners don't pick.
"Josh Willingham would look great in this lineup. They didn't want to [pay] for that last year. ... That's the decision they make, and this is the bed we're laying in."
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Indians pursued Willingham last winter, but he signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Minnesota Twins.
Indians manager Manny Acta, when told of Perez's comments, told the Plain Dealer, "That's his opinion and I don't have anything to add to it."
Antonetti didn't believe Perez's comments were accurate.
"While we work to understand various perspectives, we strongly disagree with Chris' comments," Antonetti told the Plain Dealer. "Nonetheless, we are not satisfied with our recent results and our entire organization remains committed to fielding winning teams and that is the standard by which we will continue to operate."
Antonetti, who talked to Perez, said the matter would be handled internally, according to the Plain Dealer.
Perez's comments don't mark the first time he's made news with his mouth in 2012.
Earlier this season, Perez blasted fans for failing to show up when the Indians were in first place. Last month, Perez was caught on camera in a profanity-laced verbal exchange with a taunting fan of the Oakland Athletics. In June, Perez also said pitchers on every team who use pine tar and other substances to manipulate the ball.
Perez is 0-4 with 34 saves and 3.51 ERA this season for the Indians, who are 58-79, two games out of last place in the AL Central.