Roberto Perez is one of the few Cleveland Indians players earning real money in 2021.
The veteran catcher did not get traded this offseason and shows up as a key veteran leader in the clubhouse as well.
Perez is an interesting player because he has only really played one full season at the position.
That came back in 2019 when he posted a 4.0 WAR en route to winning his first Gold Glove Award.
Perez won his second career Gold Glove last season, even though he only appeared in 32 games.
Now he returns in 2021 looking to play a full season and keep up his reputation as one of the best defensive catchers in baseball.
Bumping up his numbers on offense wouldn’t hurt either.
Perez seems motivated as well given his recent weight loss.
Best Shape Of His Life alert: Cleveland catcher Roberto Pérez said he hired a personal trainer over the winter and lost 25 pounds.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) February 18, 2021
Perez is Fit and Ready
This is certainly some good news to see out of Goodyear.
#Indians (C) Roberto Perez talked to media today at Goodyear about hiring a personal trainer this off-season & losing 25 pounds. Here is video he posted on his Instragram account showing that work.@Indians #BeboPerez pic.twitter.com/RqiTGIvJmi
— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) February 18, 2021
Perez has never been noticeably out of shape, but hiring a trainer and losing this weight proves he wants to show up and win this season.
His 2020 season served as plenty of motivation.
Perez slashed a dismal .165/.264/.216 last year and had a total of 16 hits.
To be fair, it was in 32 games.
But that is a terrible projection over a full season and that clearly did not sit well with him over the winter.
This is a player who hit 24 home runs during his great 2019 season.
Hopefully, getting more fit also means he added some strength and power.
The Catcher’s Future in Cleveland
Perez is set to earn $5.5 million in 2021 and the club holds an option on him for 2022.
So what is his timeline in Cleveland?
Well, Perez is now 32 years old and Austin Hedges remains behind him on the depth chart.
Hedges is only 28 years old and has a chance to prove his value this season in a backup role.
Then there is prospect Bo Naylor, who currently projects to be the future at the position.
Perez remains a player who may end up being traded during the 2021 regular season if the Indians are sitting near the bottom of the division.
The team has made it clear they are willing to shed salary and Perez was a name that even came up in offseason trade talks.
Trading him during the season also makes more sense than letting him walk for nothing if there is no intention of picking up his option.
There is still the problem of trading a catcher during a season and having it negatively impact the pitching staff.
But the front office is not going to worry about that too much if solid trade offers are on the table.
For now, fans can be excited about Perez showing up motivated and ready to win in 2021.
Everyone can worry about potential trades when the time comes and, hopefully, the Indians aren’t big sellers in July.
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