Rafael Perez would have been non-tendered Friday, but instead the Indians have decided to part ways with the left-handed reliever early and designated him for assignment.
Perez has been one of the best, most underrated southpaw setup men in baseball for most of his seven-year career, posting a 3.01 ERA in 281 innings if you take out his miserable 2009 season.
However, he missed nearly all of this year with a shoulder injury that required surgery in September and has too often worked in the mid-80s recently. He’s expected to be healthy by spring training, but Perez will likely have to settle for a one-year deal or perhaps even a minor-league contract.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.