Indians sign first baseman Perez to one-year deal

Updated: January 12, 2006, 6:26 PM ET
Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Having failed to obtain a top right-handed bat, the Cleveland Indians figure to use Eduardo Perez in a platoon at first base with Ben Broussard.

First Base
Tampa Bay Devil Rays

77 11 28 23 .368 .255

"I would have preferred to sign another impact bat to add to this team somewhere," general manager Mark Shapiro said Thursday, a day after Perez finalized a one-year contract. "Sometimes we're forced to be creative in the way we look at things."

Perez is guaranteed $1,825,000 -- a $1.7 million salary this year and a $125,000 buyout of a 2007 team option. Shapiro said Perez is likely to play some in the outfield and get about 350 at-bats.

"I'm just happy they consider me as a piece of the puzzle," Perez said.

Cleveland tried to get Nomar Garciaparra, Brian Giles and Eric Byrnes to boost its offense, but they all wound up elsewhere.

Perez, the 36-year-old son of Hall of Famer Tony Perez, batted .255 with 11 homers and 28 RBI last season for the Tampa Bay and has a .263 average in his career against left-handers with 47 homers and 168 RBI.

Cleveland probably won't make any other moves before spring training.

"We're very comfortable going into spring training with the club we've got right now," Shapiro said.

During the offseason, Cleveland's biggest moves were to sign pitchers Paul Byrd and Jason Johnson and re-sign closer Bob Wickman. The Indians also signed outfielder Todd Hollandsworth, infielder Lou Merloni, catcher Einar Diaz, and pitchers Steve Karsay and Danny Graves.

"We've done what we had to do, but we didn't necessarily make some of the improvements that I wanted to make," Shapiro said.

Cleveland designated pitcher Brian Tallet for assignment to make room for Perez. The Indians have 10 days to trade him, release him or send him outright to the minors.

Tallet spent most of last season at Triple-A Buffalo and made two appearances for the Indians. The 28-year-old left-hander had reconstructive elbow surgery at the end of 2003.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press