Perez was quoted as telling Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi: “Different owners. It comes down to that. They [the Tigers] are spending money. He [owner Mike Ilitch] wants to win. Even when the economy was down, he spent money. He’s got a team to show for it. You get what you pay for in baseball. Sometimes you don’t. But most of the time you do.”
Perez was particularly critical for the team not adding free agent OF Josh Willingham this offseason, who has gone on to hit 33 HRs for the last place Minnesota Twins. The Indians do have a handful of young players. But they are not in a rebuilding phase. Over the past couple of years, many of their home grown players have established themselves in the big leagues. This was a team that could have thrown the knock out punch, and Willingham would have fit that perfectly. Instead, the Indians are playing out the stretch again and the job status of manager Manny Acta is in jeopardy.
The frustrating part is that the Indians are not that far away. They were aggressive last season when they added Ubaldo Jimenez at the trading deadline, even though he has a very team friendly contract. They brought back Grady Sizemore, who has not played at all in 2012, and signed Casey Kotchman to play 1B. That and some struggles by the starting pitchers have resulted to the Indians being 20 games under .500.
The low budget moves of taking Derek Lowe from the Braves and signing Johnny Damon showed some reluctance to add payroll. I think the Indians players have grown to a point where they deserve a little more re-enforcement. Hopefully it happens this offseason, if not, Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana, Justin Masterson and others should start to wonder if the organization ever plans to be a contender again.