CLEVELAND -- Things feel different now to Indians closer Chris Perez. Last month, Perez made critical comments about Cleveland's front office and ownership, but the closer now claims his words were fueled by frustration.
On Tuesday, Perez wanted to make it clear that he is not -- and was not -- trying to talk his way out of town. The closer had something to say to anyone who thought he was trying to force the Indians to trade him.
"They don't know the whole story," Perez said. "A lot of frustration from those comments, a lot of that walked out the door last week. I'll just leave it at that. It doesn't mean everything is in tip-top shape over here. Obviously, we fell short of our goals and we need to see why."
Last week, the Indians dismissed Manny Acta as manager and named Sandy Alomar Jr. the team's new manager on an interim basis. Perez believes Alomar has great potential as a full-time manager, and the closer also feels Cleveland has a strong candidate in Terry Francona, who will interview for the job on Friday.
As for Acta, Perez said he believes the former manager meshed better with the media than he did with his own players. The closer spoke critically of Acta's lack of communication with the players. By the time Acta called a team meeting this season -- during the club's Seattle trip in August -- Perez felt it was too late.
"Something needed to change," Perez said. "Just the personality, a different dynamic in the locker room. Something needed to be different."
Perez also feels the organization's stance with him this winter will be an indicator of the direction the team is heading. The closer, a two-time All-Star with 39 saves this season, is eligible for arbitration this offseason and is expected to get a significant raise. Given the club's place in the standings, Perez could be used as trade bait.
"That's a business decision that they're going to have to make," Perez said. "That's not up to me. That's not my decision. I have two years left here at least. Right now, it's up to them. I think whatever they decide to do is definitely going to tell you which way the team is going one way or the other.
"I kind of find it hard to see them keeping me here and then trading other people. But, you never know."
Perez expressed confidence in Cleveland's young core players, adding that he believes the team needs to upgrade its rotation this winter.
"We've got some pieces to build around, for sure," he said. "More of it has to do with -- we need what everybody needs -- we need some high-quality starting pitching."