COMMENTARY | 2013 can't end soon enough for Asdrubal Cabrera and Chris Perez.
A mere 11 months after representing the Cleveland Indians at the 2012 MLB All-Star Game in Kansas City, both players currently find themselves on the disabled list. After rough starts to the 2013 campaign, it would have been a stretch to think either shortstop Cabrera or closer Perez were in line to be named All-Stars anyway, regardless of health.
A quick look at the numbers gives some pretty vivid insight on why this pair is struggling and what Cabrera and Perez will need to improve upon when they do return to action for the Indians.
Asdrubal CabreraCabrera's five home runs and 25 runs batted in thus far in 2013 are right about in line with his usual production, so no problems there. On the other hand, his strikeout and walk totals are a major issue and leave a lot be desired.
Cabrera has struck out 54 times in just 205 at-bats so far this season, a very un-Asdrubal like 26 percent of the time. Entering 2013, Cabrera's career strikeout percentage was just 18 percent. It almost seems like new Tribe additions and notorious strikeout machines Mark Reynolds and Drew Stubbs have rubbed off on him.
When you throw in a meager 14 walks and a subpar .254 batting average, it's pretty apparent that Cabrera is not doing a good enough job setting the table for the hitters behind him. After hitting 25 home runs in his breakout season of 2011, Cabrera has morphed from a scrappy player that would do anything to get on base to yet another Tribe hitter with a poor batting average who strikes out way too much.
Cabrera was placed on the disabled list on June 4 with a strained quadriceps and currently isn't expected to be back in the Tribe lineup for another couple of weeks. Here's hoping that when he does return, the strikeouts don't follow.
Chris PerezHeading into a save opportunity against the Seattle Mariners on May 18, Perez looked to be a lock to make his third straight All-Star team. With six saves and a miniscule 0.64 ERA, the big right-hander was again putting up the type of numbers that have made him one of the most feared closers in baseball.
Fast forward less than a month later, and Perez's 2013 could only be called a disaster at best.
After two rotten appearances against the Mariners and a total meltdown in a loss to the Boston Red Sox, Perez was placed on the DL May 27 with shoulder problems. As if that wasn't bad enough, Perez was charged with drug possession after authorities uncovered a shipment of marijuana addressed to the Perez home.
Perez's emotional persona and controversial antics generally polarized the Tribe fan base, but his solid work out of the pen usually swayed the doubters. Unfortunately, after this series of events, Perez will be on a very short leash when he returns to the Indians in a couple of weeks, and it wouldn't surprise this writer one bit if Perez is traded to a contender if the Indians continue their losing ways.
Shaun Heidrick is a Yahoo! Contributor who has followed the Cleveland Indians for 25 years.
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