M's Perez sits and waits for trade deadline
Perez barely noticed. He was more interested in watching and laughing at Felix Hernandez's endless torment of catcher Henry Blanco.
Perez knows that he could be traded by the 1 p.m. (PST) deadline today. But he isn't going to let it dominate his thoughts.
"I know how the situation works," he said. "It's not the first time I've been through this. It's out of your control."
When he was just a young hard-throwing rookie with the San Diego Padres in 2003, Perez was traded along with Jason Bay and a player to be named later to the Pirates for outfielder Brian Giles in a waivers trade on August 26.
"It's funny," he said. "Once I made it to the Padres, I thought I was always going to play for them. I was so young, I didn't know any better."
Perez saw first hand that it is a business and players are commodities to teams.
"It's how the game works," he said. "You learn."
Perez was reminded of it again after three seasons with the Pirates. He was traded along with reliever Roberto Hernandez to the Mets at the trade deadline in the 2006 season.
Once again he finds himself a candidate to be dealt at the deadline again. He's probably the most tradeable asset for the Mariners in terms of value to the team and value on the market.
In a way, it's a compliment to how well Perez has been pitching.
"When somebody talks about you, it's for a reason," he said. "I do everything I can when I'm on the mound to keep the lead for my team."
The 31-year-old has been one of the team's best relievers this season. He's posted a 2-2 record with a 2.35 ERA and two saves in 41 appearances. In 381/3 innings pitched, he's struck out 52 batters. He has shown the ability to get out left-handed hitters, get out right-handed hitters, pitch multiple innings and work in save situations.
Teams like the Tigers, Orioles and Red Sox could definitely use Perez's versatility in their bullpen. Relievers can often be valuable trade chips before the deadline so the return can be inflated.
General manager Jack Zduriencik has said he isn't going to be overly aggressive, but will listen to offers. Trading Perez wouldn't destroy the Mariners as a team. The bullpen has been anything but consistent, but if Zduriencik, who is in Boston with the team, can get a decent prospect in return for Perez, it's a move that should be made. Perez is on a one-year free agent deal and can always come back next season.
"I would love to stay here," Perez said. "But this is baseball, and I know how it is."
Perez is grateful to the Mariners. When he was on the verge of retirement two years ago as a washed out starting pitcher, Seattle took a chance on him as a reliever, signing him to a minor league deal.
"This team gave me the opportunity to get to where I am right now," he said. "I'm just happy to be here. And I would love to stay here."
With the rumor mill circulating endlessly on Twitter, Perez's name is the only one that has been mentioned with any regularity. The Mariners don't appear willing to trade Kendrys Morales or Raul Ibanez. Because of injuries and the fall off in production, Michael Morse, who was just activated from the disabled list on Monday, has little value.
Shortstop Brendan Ryan or Tuesday's starting pitcher Joe Saunders might be the next most likely trade candidates.
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