The Cleveland Indians’ bullpen, usually the source of anguish amongst fans when seasons are going right, is this year at least handling itself well. The Indians’ bullpen ERA up to now is 4.03, which is not amazing, but it is definitely an improvement from 4.66 last year, fourth worst in the league.

With Kerry Wood being activated earlier today, the bullpen is sure to knock the number under four as the closer role should now be solidified should Wood stay healthy. Of course, this means someone has to head to AAA Columbus. We have two pitchers with ERAs over seven, Rafael Perez and Joe Smith. Smith has already been moved back to Columbus, so the Indians demote..

Jensen Lewis? I don’t believe I saw that name above. Needless to say this confused me. Both Perez and Lewis are in the 26-28 age range, pitched 9-10 games, and in fact Lewis has the edge on innings pitched, strikeouts, and wins. So why was Lewis sent down while Perez remains?

Short answer: Perez is out of options and Lewis isn’t.

Longer answer: Who else would we demote if not Lewis? I tried to look at this through the eyes of the front office best I could. Lewis has nine walks on the season already, and his 7.4 walks per nine innings is the highest on the team. The only other bullpen member with iffy stats though is Jamey Wright, who at 35 wouldn’t be useful for any development down in AAA.

Despite the above, I’m not seeing the reasoning. Lewis has clearly shown he can dominate in the minors, so development doesn’t make sense, as in 12 minor league games in Columbus last year he had in ERA of 0 over 18.2 innings. Everyone else’s ERA is hovering in the 2.5-3 mark, so that wouldn’t be a justification, though Lewis’s ERA was under two before the game against Toronto.

So what point am I trying to get across? The person to be demoted should’ve been the one where demotion would have the most upside. Lewis is not that person. My theory on who to demote rides on, ironically, the man who considered himself responsible, and it’s not Valbuena.

I mean that it would be of benefit to have demoted Perez. Chris Perez.

At 24, C. Perez is still young and has room to grow and fix the control issues he seems to be having, given the six walks compared to five strikeouts this year. He threw 68 K’s to 27 walks in 57 innings last year, and unless there’s plans to bring Saul Rivera up (who’s actually doing very well as the Columbus Clippers’ closer) then Perez could get some save time and keep the mentality while Wood saves games for the Tribe.

Or, for that matter, demote Perez and then bring up Rivera and release Wright. Despite the rant, the hitting is what needs a swift kick in the backside, not the bullpen. Not this year.

The one time that part of the team works, right? Jensen was pitching well for us, and I just want the bullpen further solidified so that we do not need to use 28 or 29 pitchers. Not a third year of that, please…

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