It’s time to move on from the oft-injured Indians’ catcher Roberto Perez.
Roberto Perez has not played a game for the Indians since Aug 3 and will return in the double-header against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday. That’s good news for the pitching staff as Perez is one of the better catchers in the league at calling a game, but it’s bad news for the offense. That offensive dread is just one reason why it’s time to move on from Perez.
Perez, to his credit, has always been just that; a credit to this team. He’s consistent at the plate and behind it. That’s a great thing when he’s catching but a terrible thing when he’s at the plate. He has consistently been a great catcher, but also consistently been a bad bet. His Gold Glove-winning traits are the best parts about him.
He won his first in 2019 and was by far the best defensive catcher in baseball. He won a second in 2020 and while as a fan of his and the team it made me elated, as someone who has a responsibility, to be honest, I didn’t feel he truly earned the second one. He played in barely more than half the season in 2020, but that was enough for him to get the award.
A third Gold Glove isn’t likely and the Indians should move on from him.
These are the three reasons to move on from Roberto Perez
He’s aging out
Catchers traditionally are done by their early 30s as a full-time option. Perez is a good catcher still, but if he’s only available for an average of 51 games a year. In his career, he’s played 100 games or more just once. You can’t really expect him to play more games the older he gets, especially with his history of injuries. He did play some first base this year, maybe as a sign that they may want him to change positions but that’s not going to help matters.
While he may bring the same caliber of glove to first base, the same issues he has as a hitter aren’t going away because he’s no longer behind the plate. Perez has the same issue as current first basemen Bobby Bradley; they both strikeout way too dang much. Perez has just 15 hits on the season. Yes, he’s only played in 34 games this year, but he had more hits last year in just 32. Not only that, he has more strikeouts this year (45) than games played. Whatever we saw from Perez in 2019 was a fluke season. It’s unlikely he ever has double-digit home runs again, let alone 20+.
No longer worth the squeeze
If Roberto Perez was still as good as ever at 33-years-old, was a good (not even great) hitter, then you pay him the $7 million because you know he’s going to play 130 games, hit .250, and play Gold Glove-caliber defense. Except, that’s not the case. He’s going to hit .130, play 40 games and eat up a nice chunk of payroll in the process. Maybe the Tribe can decline his option and re-sign him to a much smaller figure to serve as a backup, but even then, his offense is so bad that it doesn’t make sense to retain him anymore. The Indians no longer have a deep offense and they can’t afford to continue to carry five players who are hitting .220 and under. Maybe in 2016, with that lineup, you can justify carrying a career .207 hitter, but not anymore.