PHILADELPHIA -- The Indians are in a precarious position with closer Kerry Wood. He has not performed well enough to be considered trade bait, and, in a season increasingly geared toward player development, the Indians are paying him $10.5 million to fill a role he certainly won't be filling next year.
But manager Manny Acta is sticking with Wood as his closer, despite the veteran's inconsistent performance (5-for-8 in save situations) and the growth another closing stint would provide youngster Chris Perez. Perez will undoubtedly slide into the closer role in 2011. He already filled the role earlier this season, when Wood was on the DL. In fact, Perez still holds the team lead in saves, having converted six of his nine opportunities.
Acta, though, isn't shaking things up in the ninth yet.
"At some point, [Perez] is going to have that opportunity here, but we haven't gotten to it yet," Acta said.
Acta didn't want to put too much stock into Wood's blown save against the Phillies on Wednesday night, or his blown save against the Red Sox on June 10.
"He saved a game in Pittsburgh [last weekend], and we were happy about that," Acta said. "These things get out of hand when you're talking about three or four blown saves in a week."
Wood hasn't had that kind of week, primarily because he hasn't had those kinds of opportunities. Still, he has a 7.98 ERA in 17 appearances this season, so he's not exactly been a shutdown arm, regardless of scenario.
Perez, on the other hand, has been the most consistent arm in an erratic bullpen. He has a 2.67 ERA in 27 innings over 28 appearances.
"We like Perez [as a setup man] because he can pitch multiple innings for us," Acta said. "That's something that's very valuable."