CLEVELAND (AP) — The Indians closed out their relationship with Chris Perez.
The team released the colorful closer Thursday following a season in which he performed below his All-Star abilities, got arrested and surrendered his job in the final week as Cleveland tried to clinch a playoff spot.
Also, the Indians re-signed veteran slugger Jason Giambi, who provided leadership last season along with some clutch hits.
A two-time All-Star, Perez spent five seasons in Cleveland. And while he saved 124 games, Perez often was at the center of turmoil that overshadowed his pitching. He angered Indians fans last season for saying they didn't support the team like they should, and he rankled Cleveland's front office by criticizing trades and stating the Indians weren't spending enough to win.
"We just finished out team meetings and made the determination that Chris was not a fit on our roster," general manager Chris Antonetti said in announcing Perez's release.
In June, Perez was arrested after drug agents followed a package containing marijuana to his home in Rocky River, Ohio. He and his wife pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge. Perez, who was never shy about voicing his opinion on any subject, didn't talk to the media for months before breaking his silence on the final day of the regular season in Minnesota when the Indians secured a wild-card berth.
Antonetti denied the notion that Perez was a distraction.
"I think we were able to handle any issues," Antonetti said. "In the end, we won 92 games with him serving as our closer for the majority of the season."
Perez was eligible for salary arbitration this winter, and based on his statistics and was in line for a raise from his $7.3 million salary this year. But Perez's struggles, along with his tempestuous past, resulted in the Indians cutting ties with him a day after the World Series ended.
In 54 games, Perez went 5-3 with a 4.33 ERA and 25 saves in 30 attempts. But he scuffled after Aug. 1 as his ERA ballooned to 7.52 ERA and he allowed six runs in his final two appearances.
Antonetti said Perez, who had a stint on the disabled list this season with a sore shoulder, is healthy and feels he'll bounce back — just not in Cleveland.
"On balance, Chris was a very meaningful contributor to our teams over the last few years," Antonetti said. "He had a tough stretch at the end of the season, but all players go through ups and downs. I think Chris will respond well and pitch well for his next team."