Author: Aaron Gleeman

Oliver Perez, Mike Harkey

Diamondbacks shut down Oliver Perez with “dead arm”


Oliver Perez has made a career-high 65 appearances for the Diamondbacks this season and now they’ve shut down the 32-year-old left-hander with a “dead arm.”

Perez has pitched well in the first season of a two-year, $4.25 million deal, throwing 57 innings with a 2.86 ERA and 70/21 K/BB ratio for his third straight strong campaign following years of struggling as a starter. He had a sub-2.00 ERA before recent problems.

Perez told Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic that he’d like to pitch again before the end of the season, but manager Kirk Gibson seems unlikely to give him the ball again, saying:

He’s not hurt. There’s just not much coming out. He’s got a dead arm. He hit a wall.

Perez had back-to-back seasons with an ERA over 6.00 for the Mets and then didn’t pitch in the majors at all in 2011, but since returning as a full-time reliever he’s got a combined 3.04 ERA with 168 strikeouts in 139 innings.

Nationals claim Twins’ Opening Day shortstop off waivers

Pedro Florimon AP

It’s not often you see a team’s Opening Day shortstop get claimed off regular, non-revocable waivers in mid-September, but the Twins just lost Pedro Florimon to the Nationals on the waiver wire.

Of course, Florimon lost Minnesota’s shortstop job in April and has spent most of the season at Triple-A, where he hit just .257 with a .717 OPS in 85 games.

Florimon is not a starting-caliber shortstop because he can’t hit, but his defense is good enough to make him a decent utility man at age 27.

Steve Pearce is the Orioles’ best hitter and they got him for nothing

Steve Pearce AP

During his 1990s run as Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette was known for turning career minor leaguers and waiver wire finds into useful big leaguers and now his success running the Orioles is helped by similar scrap-heap finds.

This year’s biggest find is Steve Pearce, a one-time Pirates top prospect who hit just .234 with a .677 OPS in 246 games for four different teams through age 29.

Duquette and the Orioles claimed Pearce off waivers from the Yankees in late 2012, got some solid work out of him in a part-time role last season, and have watched him turn into an offensive force this year. Pearce homered twice last night as the Orioles clinched their first AL East title in 17 years and he’s now hitting .297 with 20 homers, 25 doubles, and a .936 OPS in 97 games overall.

Among all American League hitters with at least 350 plate appearances this season Pearce ranks ranks fourth in OPS, behind only Mike Trout, Jose Abreu, and Victor Martinez.

Blue Jays GM dances around question about manager John Gibbons’ job status

John Gibbons

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is under contract for next season, yet general manager Alex Anthopoulos gave some weird answers when asked whether he’ll be back:

He’s under contract. He’s always under contract, pretty much. I don’t think there’s anything to take care of, and I think he’s done a good job. … I’ve said this before. I’m a big believer that no matter what position–grounds crew, administrative assistant, manager, coach–you support them until you don’t support them.

All of which is certainly a hell of a lot more complicated than replying “yes.”

Anthopoulos’ line about how “he’s always under contract, pretty much” refers to Gibbons’ deal including a clause that extends his contract for another year each time he’s still on the job as of December 31. It’s like an automatic contract extension, presumably to keep him from ever being a lame-duck manager.

That also serves as the absolute latest date Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays would need to make a decision on retaining Gibbons. Either way they’re paying him for 2015.

Toronto has collapsed following a strong start to the season and is now 77-74 after going 74-88 last year. Gibbons, now in his second stint managing the Blue Jays, has a career record of 456-467 for a .494 winning percentage.

Rangers likely to decline 2015 option on Alex Rios

Alex Rios

After a strong first half Alex Rios has been injured and ineffective in the second half and now T.R. Sullivan of reports that “it appears increasingly likely” the Rangers will decline his $14 million option for 2015.

Texas would have to buy him out for $1 million, which would send the 33-year-old outfielder into the open market following a season in which he’s managed just four homers and 23 walks in 131 games for a measly .709 OPS despite a solid .280 batting average.

Rios has topped an .800 OPS just once since 2008 and his defense is no longer good enough to offset mediocre production, making him a so-so starting corner outfielder.