CLEVELAND -- Indians general manager Chris Antonetti spent more than an hour with Chris Perez this week, as the two sifted through the rubble frequently deposited by the candid closer this season. They discussed Perez's performance, his future and his propensity to arm reporters with an arsenal of quotable material, among other topics.
So when Antonetti was prompted to explain how the meeting went, he needed only one word.
"Long," Antonetti said.
Perez, who saved a career-high 39 games this season, voiced his displeasure with an abundance of empty seats at Progressive Field in May when the Indians were atop the American League Central. Later in the season, as the Tribe tumbled down the standings, he spouted unpleasantries about ownership and the front office. On Tuesday, he remarked that frustration from earlier in the year "walked out the door" upon the dismissal of manager Manny Acta.
Antonetti senses that the candid comments are his way of expressing his unwavering desire to win.
"It comes from a good place with Chris," Antonetti said. "He's an exceptionally competitive guy that badly wants to be a contributor to a winning team. Now, I wish he would choose his words differently in how he communicates those messages and maybe use the opportunity to discuss some of them more privately or in a different forum, but the root of where his comments are coming from are in a deep-seeded belief of, 'I want to be part of a winning team and do my part to help out.'
Antonetti, who said that he didn't see evidence that any of Perez's comments influenced the team's performance, is hopeful that the colorful closer will be more mindful of his diction in the future.
"I appreciate his candor when it's behind closed doors," Antonetti said. "I think everyone would be best served if he chose his words more carefully."