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.