Where’s Odalis?

It is rapidly approaching the month of June, nearly a third of the way through the baseball season, and there are still some highly notable players, especially veteran pitchers, without jobs. That story has been oft repeated to date. Most of the unemployed suffer from a vastly inflated sense of worth (e.g. Pedro Martinez) or an injury (e.g. Ben Sheets). However, the release of Daniel Cabrera recently sprung up a name in my mind that I realized I had not heard from lately, Odalis Perez.

In case you forgot, here is a quick summary of this travails with Washington this past February. On or about February 5th, Perez agreed to a minor league contract with Washington that would pay him $850,000 were he to make the big league roster. About two weeks later, perhaps coincidentally soon after Livan Hernandez got a better deal from the Mets, Perez declared that he wanted a guaranteed Major League deal and refused to report to Spring Training. A few days of not returning calls later, he was granted a release.

Perez planned to showcase himself during the World Baseball Classic, but never got the opportunity. And as far as I can turn up, that is the last that has been written about him. He tossed just under 160 innings last year, is left handed, turns 32 in a week, has no known injury that I can ascertain and has been worth between 1.4 and 1.6 wins each of the previous four seasons. He has been by no means stellar, but he has been useful and seeing as his price tag seems to just be a Major League deal, even one under $1 million guaranteed, I find it a little baffling as to why no team has gone after him.

It is probably too late in the season now, as teams would likely be skeptical of how fast someone like Perez can get back up to MLB readiness, but why didn’t a team like the Angels go after him when they suffered all those injuries to their rotation before the season began? Or what about a team that knew it was a long shot this year? They couldn’t have thrown him $1 million, stuck him in the rotation and waited for the inevitable rash of pitcher injuries and then tried to trade him between now and July? Maybe they were all scared away by the way Perez handled the situation with the Nationals, and perhaps there was more to it than the public has learned, but it was also the Nationals, hardly the pinnacle of well-run organizations at the time.

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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

6 Responses to “Where’s Odalis?”

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  1. Hailmatty says:

    Can you say blackballed? Happened to Bonds.

    I guess Odalis has angered the powers that be one too many times.

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  2. Mark R says:

    I don’t see how it’s too late in the season. The Phillies, for instance, have some decent stopgaps, but are going to need a number four or five starter before much longer.

    And as to the blackballing, I think there’s probably something to that. The Nats are horrible, but they toe the Selig line nearly all the time.

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  3. Eric/OR says:

    Reneging on a contract one signed *two weeks earlier* is indeed a little strange. There’s no love lost b/t myself and the Nationals (or any ownership group for that matter), but their deal with Perez was a shrewd one, and it strikes me that a petulant move like Perez’s is going to cost him long-run dollars this year. After all, he’s not very likely to make more than $850k in total dollars by signing some pro-rated second-half contract should he catch on somewhere.

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  4. Rob McMillin says:

    Perez was always a tantalizing case of what-might-have-been; he probably annoyed people in the Kansas City organization when he said this:

    “You know, the team is a bad team,” Perez said of the last-place Royals. “[But] I could be happy there because I can be the ace on staff or one of the good guys on the staff.”

    Perez also made it be known that he wasn’t happy about his demotion to the bullpen; I have to wonder whether teams have just concluded that he’s not worth the whining.

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