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The Indians front office may prefer one contract be off the books in 2021.
The Cleveland Indians have one of the lowest payrolls in all of baseball this year. Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco were sent to the New York Mets, and Carlos Santana is now a member of the Kansas City Royals. That meant a lot of money came off the books without much spending happening after.
So are there still any contracts on the payroll the team would like to erase? That is a tough question, and we have to get picky to find an answer. If the route of total frugality is taken, Roberto Perez would be the one player the Indians may wish to move off the books.
Getting picky with a contract for the Indians to erase
Perez is only set to earn $5.5 million in 2021 and has a $7 million club option for 2022. As mentioned above, this would be a truly shrewd wish.
The rationale here is that Perez is 32 years old and the Indians have a younger, cheaper player in Austin Hedges behind him on the depth chart. Hedges is the fifth-highest paid player on the roster, at only $3.28 million, while Perez comes in third in 2021. That is a lot of money committed to a catcher position on such a small payroll.
The expected future at catcher in Cleveland is Bo Naylor. But he may still be a year away from making his debut at this point.
Having Hedges as the backup does set up the possibility of the Indians trading Perez at some point this season, especially if there is no intention of picking up his 2022 club option. Someone like non-roster invite Ryan Lavarnway could then hold down the backup job if he remains in the organization to open the season.
Perez returns in 2021 on a cheap deal to help work with the young pitching staff. But fans should not be shocked if he ends up being traded at some point during the season. He is not the future at the position, and this is a team looking to cut as many costs as possible.