We continue to dive into the top 25 Cleveland Indians players from the 2018 season. Today we talk about one of the most underrated relief pitchers out there.
Our run of talking about players who have joined other teams has come to an end. Today, we’re talking about a relief pitcher who has yet to sign with a team but will hopefully be back with the Cleveland Indians. Oliver Perez proved to be a huge pickup the Tribe and he was part of the rejuvenation of what was a miserable Indians bullpen at the time.
Oliver Perez had the best year of his career. He’s been a journeyman since coming to the MLB, but he certainly made himself at home in Cleveland. He was the best relief pitcher on the Tribe and it showed. But despite all that he did with the Indians, he was most remembered this year for the “OP/OT” incident.
If you don’t recall, there was a communication mixup due to the nicknames of Perez and fellow relief pitcher Dan Otero (aka OT). Otero came in and promptly lost the game for the Tribe. But that wasn’t on Perez.
Perez still ended up with a 1.39 ERA and 43 strikeouts. He was a reliable arm out of the Indians bullpen and that was something that wasn’t common for the 2018 Cleveland Indians. Perez never really had a consistent role at times.
He wasn’t used for full innings for the most part. Once the team got Brad Hand and had a healthy Andrew Miller, he found himself coming in earlier in games. This isn’t to say he was underused. Whenever he came out he almost always did what was asked of him.
It’s unclear if the Indians will re-sign Perez or not. The Indians haven’t made any notable bullpen moves, and they need to before the season starts because it’s a dumpster fire. Perez already has a role in Cleveland and he does a great job of filling that role. The Indians shouldn’t find it too hard to bring him back to fill a lingering hole on the roster.
If Perez can get more consistent work and is paired with Brad Hand in the future, the Indians bullpen won’t be as disastrous as some may think. I know I’d like to see him come back to Cleveland, and plenty others would as well.