The first move in the off season by the Cleveland Indians was one of subtraction and not addition.
The Tribe, fresh from a 92-70 season that resulted in the team being the top seeded American League wild card team, will enter 2014 in search of a new closer after releasing Chris Perez.
"We made the determination that Chris would not be a fit on our roster," said Indians general manager Chris Antonetti.
Perez, who recorded 124 saves in his five years in a Cleveland uniform, had a roller coaster ride of a year, being injured early, being arrested and convicted of a charge involving the mailing of marijuana to his suburban Cleveland home. He was not jailed but paid a fine and had other minor restrictions with the conviction.
That made the right-hander the victim of fan abuse which began a year earlier when he called out fans for not coming out to Progressive Field when the Indians started the 2012 season fast and in first place in the first weeks of the season.
He also decided to not talk to the Cleveland media for the final three months of the 2013 season after his drug arrest.
Perez' public perception in Cleveland never recovered and his few problems on the mound were magnified, resulting in his not being a part of the Tribe in 2014.
Whether the Indians are right in going in another direction or just afraid of not wanting to deal with the public relations problem that Perez, 28, became with Cleveland fans won't be known for some time. But for now, the Indians, looking for back-to-back playoff appearances since winning six consecutive AL Central titles from 1995-2000, will go that different direction without Perez and hope to fill his shoes on the mound come spring training in Arizona next February.
In another roster move, the Indians signed Jason Giambi to a minor league contract and invited him back to fight for a spot on the major league roster. Giambi, 42, hit .183 for the Indians with nine home runs in 2013 but was a public relations plus for the Tribe, which finished the season 28th among 30 teams in home attendance. Only Tampa and Miami drew fewer home fans in 2013. Cleveland averaged just 19,661 fans for its 80 home dates and had the lowest percentage capacity in all of the big leagues for those 80 dates with Progressive Field filled to just 45.3% of its capacity.