Indians release Perez, resign Giambi, make trade for Hynes
The Cleveland Indians today announced a flurry of moves on the first official day of the 2013-2014 offseason.
The biggest move was the announcement that right-handed pitcher Chris Perez was given his unconditional release. He was 5-3 with a 4.33 ERA in 54 relief appearances in 2013, and in 54.0 innings allowed 56 hits, 11 home runs, 21 walks and had 54 strikeouts. He was also 25-for-30 in save opportunities and leaves the Indians with 124 career saves.
While Perez has done a nice job converting saves, the Indians could no longer handle his high wire act. For a few million that is fine, but considering he was entering his final year of arbitration and scheduled to make around $9 million the cost was just not justified. He has also become a bit of a public relations problem the last two years by calling out fans for poor attendance on Twitter and his recent issues with the law. He is now a free agent and can sign with any team.
The Indians also announced that they have acquired left-handed pitcher Colt Hynes from the San Diego Padres for cash considerations. Hynes, 28, spent the first half of the 2013 season between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson where he went a combined 2-0 with 4 saves and a 1.52 ERA in 41 relief appearances (47.1 IP, 43 H, 11R/8ER, 2 BB, 58 SO, 1 HR) and limited left-handed batters to a .147 average (11-for-75, 35 K) while averaging 11.0 K/9 with just 2 walks in 47.1 innings.
Hynes was with San Diego for the entire second half of the season, his first career taste of Major League action, recording a 9.00 ERA in 22 relief outings (17.0 IP, 25 H, 17R/ER) while limiting left-handed Major League batters to a .156 average (5-for-32). He was a 31st round selection in the 2007 draft and is currently pitching for Estrellas in the Dominican Winter League (2.0 IP, 3H, 0 R, 1 K) in seven appearances.
Finally, the Indians announced that they have also re-signed designated hitter Jason Giambi, 42, to a minor league contract with a non-roster invitation to Major League camp. This past season he equaled the single-season club record with three pinch-hit home runs, and for the season he drove in 31 runs in 71 games (54 starts at DH). He led the club with an RBI per at bat ratio of 6.0 AB/RBI and collected his 2000th career hit on September 8th vs. the New York Mets.
Giambi's signing to a minor league deal allows the Indians to retain him without giving him any guaranteed money. It also allows him to stick around through the end of spring training without taking up a valuable spot on the 40-man roster so the club can use that spot on another player. If Giambi makes the team out of spring training, which he likely would if he is healthy, then they would have to make a roster decision at that time.
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The Indians exhausted every avenue to trade him the past four weeks, but his release on the first day of the offseason shows that he had zero trade value. It's that $9M pricetag hanging over his head which made him mostly untradeable. If he were making $2-3M, he'd probably still be an Indian or be traded.