After releasing closer Chris Perez, the Indians have some bullpen remodeling to do.
In 2013 the Cleveland Indians made the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Cleveland parted ways with closer Chris Perez after the season. He ended the year with an ERA of 4.33 and had some off the field issues that prompted his release.
Obviously the Indians will be looking to replace Perez with a quality closer with big game experience. The remaining closers left on the market are John Axford, Andrew Bailey, Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit, Rafael Betancourt, Kevin Gregg, Joel Hanrahan, Ryan Madson, Fernando Rodney, and Jose Veras. Of course it is possible that they attempt to sign a cheaper reliever and turn him into a closer but chances are they are going to want someone with ninth inning experience.
Of the available closers Grant Balfour had the most saves in 2013 with 38. Fernando Rodney had 37 but with an ERA over 3.00, did not exactly repeat his remarkable 2012 season. Joel Hanrahan is a question mark due to an injury plagued 2013. Axford, Benoit, Betancourt, and Gregg all have experience but have been inconsistent as of late.
The best option seems to be Balfour. He has been dominant and consistent for the past few years and has playoff experience. Luckily for Cleveland the market for relievers this offseason is extremely deep. They will have plenty of options to examine while they make their decision. Getting back to the playoffs will be determined by how they replace Perez.
Tags: Cleveland Indians