With free agency just around the corner, options have been picked up and declined and players have been released. Two former pitchers of the Cleveland Indians are set to hit the open market for different reasons. Former All-Star closer Chris Perez was released by the Indians after a roller coaster 2013. Ubaldo Jimenez had his $8 million option picked up by the club, however, he voided it and became a free agent. Should the New York Yankees target both?
Jimenez would fill an obvious need in the rotation. However, this was his first year with an ERA under 4.00 since 2010 when he went 19-8. Jimenez was giant catalyst for the Indians down the stretch and was a huge reason they made the Wild Card game. Jimenez went 6-5 in the second half, but his ERA was just 1.82. He struck out 100 batters in just 84 innings. With any pitcher coming into Yankee stadium, you have to look at fly ball rate. Jimenez had a 36.8% fly ball rate. Of course cost will be an issue. Edwin Jackson got four years and $52 million from the Cubs last off-season and Jimenez could demand higher than that.
Perez will cost significantly less than that. His numbers have gone up the past couple of years and the off-field stuff hasn’t been pretty. If there’s anyone who needed a change of scenery it’s him. Perez did average a strikeout per inning last year, but gave up more hits (56) than innings pitched (54). I’m not advocating him to be closer next year ( I think David Robertson is the better option) but a one year deal for a couple million may not be a bad idea for some power arm depth in the bullpen. Granted he could implode even worse in a big market like New York, but sometimes you have to buy low on a guy. Plus, it would be a one year deal.
The Yankees are going to have to more shopping than a Kardashian this off-season because of the lack of major league ready prospects. Could Jimenez and Perez be targets? We shall see.