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Top O' The Order: Oh, Odalis — Nationals lefty holding out for $$$

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Odalis Perez might be out of his mind in any number of ways. Nationals pitchers and catchers reported to spring training this past Saturday (some players showed as early as Feb. 10) and Perez was not among them. He's still at home in the Dominican Republic.

"I thought it best and I prefer to sit in my house if the Nationals do not show more appreciation for my work," Perez said from Santo Domingo.

What does "more appreciation" mean?

"[I]ncrease the value of the contract and guarantee it," Perez said. "I will not accept any minor league contracts with no safeguards. I instructed my agent to report my position to the Nationals."

Not sure what the unemployment rate is in the Dominican, but it’s 7.6 percent and rising in the U.S.

His manager, Manny Acta, says he doesn't know what Perez's problem is.

Perez went 7-12 with a 4.34 ERA in 30 starts for the Nats a season ago after signing a two-year, non-guaranteed deal for $850,000 before the season. Perez finished third on the team in victories and second, behind lefty John Lannan, in ERA.

Perez had a breakout season with the Dodgers in 2002, when he went 15-10 with a 3.00 ERA and 0.99 WHIP while making the All-Star team. Since, he's been pretty mediocre, if not pretty bad. Perez, 31, is 73-82 for his career. [ESPN Deportes via Nationals Enquirer]

• Perez obviously missed Acta saying how happy he was to be employed, considering the economy and stuff. [Washington Times]

REMINDER! Big League Stew will LIVEBLOG A-Rod's Tampa press conference (the circus is in town!) at 1:15 p.m. ET. Be there, be ready to chat. [Big League Stew]

• Big Papi wants steroid users banned for a year. [Yahoo! Sports]

• How could anybody forget that Ken Griffey already played for the Braves in the '80s? [Talking Chop]
• Jeff Passan writes that, with all of these free agents still floating around, the compensation system might be tinkered with. [Y! Sports]
• Free agents such as Juan Cruz, whose situation might lead to a sign-and-trade. What is this, the NBA? [AZ Central]
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