In the last 24 hours the Los Angeles Dodgers have added former Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez and former Dodger Jamey Wright to an already deep bullpen. Both Perez and Wright have signed 1-year deals and figure to be on the opening day roster; however, that is not set in stone.
Perez, 28, is a two-time All-Star who had 36 and 39 saves respectively in 2011 and 2012 but struggled in 2013. Perez was non-tendered by the Indians in October after a season in which he only saved 25 games and posted a 4.33 ERA. He was also arrested in June for having marijuana shipped to his home under his dog’s name. He pleaded no contest to those charges and was, reportedly, put on probation. Perhaps Southern California is not the best place for him to be playing given the “culture”.
Wright, 38, was relatively successful in his last stint with the Dodgers in 2012 when he went 5-3 with a 3.72 earned-run average in 66 games. He will, most likely, be a long reliever for Los Angeles in 2014. Last year Wright was with the Tampa Bay Rays where we went 2-2 with a 3.09 ERA in 66 games. I’ll go ahead and guess he’s going to pitch in 66 games this year for the Blue Crew.
Perez’s one-year contract represents a classic Ned Colletti buy-low one-year reclamation project. Perez is in desperate need of a change of scenery and has produced in high-pressure situations before. Wright should be a solid addition to a bullpen that also features Brian Wilson, Kenley Jansen, J.P. Howell, Paco Rodriguez, Brandon League (yuck) and Chris Withrow. Don’t forget about Jose Dominguez, who will most likely see time in the big leagues this season.
If the Dodgers have aspirations of playing deep into October again this season, it will be on the strength of their pitching. We saw how St. Louis’ bullpen stifled the Dodgers in the NLCS last season. It is a good sign that the Dodgers front office recognized that the bullpen needed to be upgraded and is doing something about it. While Perez and Wright aren’t saviors, they will provide depth for an injury prone ‘Pen and Perez has some significant upside.