The Indians have released closer Chris Perez, the team announced. They also re-signed Jason Giambi to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training and acquired left-hander Colt Hynes from the Padres for cash considerations.
Perez, 28, saved 98 games for the Tribe from 2010-12, but he pitched to a 4.33 ERA in 2013 and lost the closer's job thanks to an especially awful second half (5.60 ERA). He and his wife were found guilty of misdemeanor marijuana possesion in September.
Perez earned $7.3 million in 2013 and was expected to earn $9 million or so through arbitration in 2014, so he was a non-tender candidate. Given how quickly the team released him, the Indians seemed rather anxious to get rid of Perez. He has been critical of fans and ownership over attendance in recent years.
Other closers available as free agents this offseason include Joe Nathan, Grant Balfour, Fernando Rodney, Brian Wilson, Joaquin Benoit and Edward Mujica. Perez is going to have plenty of competition and may have to settle for a setup role while proving he can still be effective.
The Indians could turn to either Vinnie Pestano or Cody Allen to replace Perez as closer, or they could go out into the market to acquire one via trade or free agency. Joe Smith picked up three saves late in the season but will be a free agent this winter.
Giambi, 42, hit .183/.282/.371 (85 OPS+) with nine home runs in 71 games this season, his first in Cleveland. He figures to compete for the DH job in spring training again. The Indians love Giambi's clubhouse presence as much as his ability to come off the bench and run into a fastball.
The 28-year-old Hynes had a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings across 22 relief appearances with the Padres this year, his big league debut. Lefties hit .156/.286/.313 against him with San Diego and .150/.207/.215 in Triple-A.