Former Cleveland pitcher Oliver Perez announces his retirement
After a nineteen-year career in the majors, including parts of four seasons in Cleveland, pitcher Oliver Perez will retire following the 2022 Mexican League season.
That’s a wrap for Oliver Perez, as the former Cleveland reliever has announced that following his season in Mexico, he’s going to hang them up and call it a career. Perez is currently playing with the Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican League, and following the conclusion of the 2022 Mexican League season, he’ll ride off into the sunset.
Perez spent nineteen seasons in the bigs with eight different teams (San Diego, Pittsburgh, the New York Mets, Seattle, Arizona, Houston, Washington, and Cleveland). From 2002 to 2010 he was predominantly a starter, appearing in 205 games, 195 of which were starts in which he went 58-69 with a 4.63 ERA and 90 ERA+. During this time, Perez unfortunately didn’t quite live up to the lofty expectations placed on him (he was often comped to Sandy Koufax while ascending through the minor leagues).
Perez wouldn’t land on a major-league roster for the 2011 season; instead he made the shift full-time to the bullpen in 2012. For the next decade, he owned a 3.42 ERA over 490 relief appearances (350 innings), struck out 419, and was 21% better than the average pitcher with a 121 ERA+. He was also one of the best left-on-left specialists (remember those?) during this time too, holding left-handed hitters to a .229/.300/.337 slash line.
In his four years in Cleveland, Perez was a valuable member of the then-Indians bullpen. He appeared in 144 games, logging 94 2/3 innings, posting a 2.57 ERA and striking out 109 batters while owning an ERA+ of 179. More importantly, Perez was still trusted in big moments during his tenure with the club, even during his age 36-39 seasons.
Alas, the 2021 season wasn’t the most kind to our friend Ollie, as he only appeared in five games spanning 3 2/3 innings. It was evident that younger left-handed pitchers like Sam Hentges and Anthony Gose were going to get their time to shine, as the club began its youth movement. Let’s hope he was able to pass along some words of wisdom during those waning days.
Enjoy retirement Oliver – we will always cherish the time we had with you here in Cleveland!