As you may have heard, Ryan Perry was traded to the Washington Nationals for Collin Balester last night.
This move doesn’t really improve the team, although Balester has some starting experience and can probably fill the long relief role Perry struggled in at times. Also, Perry has options left, while Balester doesn’t.
I admit I’m a little torn on this one. Obviously, the addition of Octavio Dotel made Perry the odd man out but part of me thought maybe the Tigers would hang on to him. I do kinda think they gave up on Perry a little too soon. He, as was mentioned before, still has options left, will turn 25 in February, and has shown potential. He’s never lived up to the tag that was placed on him when they drafted him—closer of the future—but he’s been very good at times. Though his overall numbers don’t show it, he was one of the Tigers’ best relievers down the stretch in 2010. Yes, they were, for the most part, out of it by then, but someone needed to pitch those innings. He did, and he was very effective.
That being said, there’s no denying Perry took a major step back last season. I do think some of it was due to inconsistent playing time (late in the season, even as Perry was racking up scoreless outings, Leyland used him sparingly; the longest Perry went without pitching seems to be a week). He also missed some time due to illness/”injury” (an infected eye and, later, a scratched cornea from rubbing the eye) and also had a couple stints in Toledo. Nothing seemed to go right for him this season, and one of the Tigers beat writers noted that Dombrowski spoke with Perry’s agent on Monday, and the agent expressed Perry’s frustration at how the season went for him.
As for Balester, it seems that he’s a failed starter who was finally converted to long-relief when he was unable to crack the Nationals’ deep rotation. He was drafted out of high school, when the organization was the Montréal Expos, and has been working up the ranks ever since. It’s worth noting that Balester was much better in relief than he was as a starter. I’ve seen comparisons to ex-Tiger Zach Miner thrown out in re. Balester, and his potential role on the team.
So, one chapter ends and another one begins. Best wishes to Ryan (and Vanessa) in Washington. And welcome to Detroit, Collin Balester. You’ll fit right in with that wacky mustache.