San Francisco Giants Reportedly Have Interest in Indians Closer Chris Perez

Baily Deeter@@deetersportsSenior Writer IIIJuly 23, 2012

TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 13:  Lou Marson #6 and Chris Perez #54 of the Cleveland Indians celebrate the win over the Toronto Blue Jays during MLB game action July 13, 2012 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)
Brad White/Getty Images

When star closer Brian Wilson went down with an elbow injury, Bruce Bochy had a big decision to make.

Should he let star reliever Sergio Romo close? Should he let dominant lefty Javier Lopez close? Or should he let the hard-throwing Santiago Casilla close?

Bochy chose Casilla, and it looked like he had made the right choice. Then, Casilla started to struggle.

Casilla is just 24-of-30 on save opportunities this year, and he has a 3.25 ERA this year. He has blown five of his last nine save opportunities, and he allowed two or more runs in four of those blown saves. San Francisco has lost some games because of Casilla, and they can't afford to let him close any more.

Luckily, there could be a solution.

San Francisco reportedly has interest in Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez (according to MLBBuzz's Ken Rosenthal). Perez has a 3.06 ERA, but he has also converted 26 of his 28 save opportunities.

Perez can pitch well under pressure, unlike Casilla. He doesn't walk many batters, and he strikes out a lot of batters. In his last four innings pitched, Perez has struck out nine batters.

Oh, and Perez has a remarkable 1.05 WHIP, which is definitely better than Casilla's 1.31 WHIP.

San Francisco would have to part with some prospects, but they could definitely pull off a deal. The Giants wouldn't want to part with Gary Brown, their star outfielder. However, there is another prospect they could trade.

The Giants are very deep at catcher, and the Indians would benefit from adding some catchers. Cleveland's current catcher, Carlos Santana, is hitting just .232, and he has been striking out a lot. The Indians don't have much depth in their farm system at catcher, and they don't have a great farm system altogether. If the Giants traded a catching prospect, Cleveland could make the deal.

Tommy Joseph and Andrew Susac are the Giants two top catching prospects. Joseph has a lot of power and a solid arm from behind the plate. He is raw, but as long as he gets enough time to hone his skills in the minors, Joseph could be a star.

Since Joseph is a high-risk prospect and Perez is an All-Star closer, San Francisco will have to throw in some other average prospects to sweeten the deal. If that doesn't work, the Giants could throw in outfielder Nate Schierholtz to add depth to Cleveland's outfield.

That deal would be a win-win. Cleveland would add depth to their outfield and their farm system, while the Giants would add a closer who would be ready to pitch in a playoff race. There aren't many relievers on the trade market who can shut down hitters but don't come at a high price—and Perez is one of those guys.

He has the ability to finish off games and miss bats. San Francisco would have Perez close, Sergio Romo pitch the eighth inning and shut down righties, Javier Lopez come on to get lefties out, and have Clay Hensley, Jeremy Affeldt, Brad Penny and George Kontos pitch in extra innings or in blowouts.

With a bullpen including a rotation with Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong—and a lineup with Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey—the Giants will be a hard team to beat.