Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Chris Perez says what most Tribe fans already know

Chris Perez rejoined the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday in Detroit, opened his mouth in front of a microphone and let loose.

Of course, what he had to say is nothing new to Tribe fans, especially the ones who have been following the team longer than Perez has been in town.

Perez was talking to about why the Indians can’t compete, when other small-market teams like Oakland and Tampa Bay can. But it was when the subject of the Detroit Tigers – who have a payroll that is $50 million more than the Indians – came up that Perez let loose.

“Different owners,” Perez said, in reference to Detroit’s Mike Ilitch and Cleveland’s Lawrence J. Dolan. “It comes down to that. They (the Tigers) are spending money. He (Ilitch) wants to win. Even when the economy was down (in Detroit), he spent money. He’s got a team to show for it. You get what you pay for in baseball. Sometimes you don’t. But most of the time you do.”

Perez also talked about how the Indians can’t afford to make a mistake when acquiring a player because they don’t have the money to spend their way out of their mistakes.

“You can’t miss,” Perez said. “You have to be right. That’s why I say it’s not just ownership. They don’t make the trades. It’s the GMs. It goes hand in hand. The GMs can only spend the money the owners give them, but they pick who they spend it on or who they don’t. They pick. The owners don’t pick.  Josh Willingham would look great in this lineup. They didn’t want to (pony) up for that last year. … That’s the decision they make, and this is the bed we’re laying in.”

There will be fans – tired of all the losing and the Tribe collapsing for the second consecutive year – who will be upset by what Perez had to say. But he didn’t say anything that those same fans have probably said themselves. (Whether or not he should have said it is another story).

The Dolans don’t have money to spend on free agents or pump up the payroll. And that is only going to get worse as TV contracts boom for other teams, most notably the Angels ($150 million a year), Dodgers ($200 million a year) and the Rangers ($80 million a year). Those kinds of TV dollars are just not available in Northeast Ohio.

General manager Chris Antonetti also has to be perfect when he acquires a player; but how realistic is that? He’s made plenty of mistakes in talent evaluation over the past few years, which hasn’t helped, but no one hits the mark every time (it would be nice if he hit the mark some of the time though).

Indians manager Manny Acta didn’t have much to say about the latest comments from his vocal reliever.

“That’s his opinion and I don’t have anything to add to it,” Acta told The Plain Dealer. “We all have different DNA and we all have to live with each other and deal with each other the best way we can. What really concerns is when he comes into the game in the ninth inning to save the game and gets it. The rest of the stuff we handle internally.”

Really, what is Acta going to say? He knows as well as anyone that what Perez says is true.

On this one, we’re going to take the attitude of “move along, nothing to see here.”

Kind of the like the actual Indians for the past six weeks or so.

(Photo by Getty Images)

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  1. Pingback: While We’re Waiting… Into the Eagles’ Nest | WaitingForNextYear

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