DETROIT, Mich. -- That didn't take long.
Closer Chris Perez rejoined the Indians on Tuesday following the birth of his daughter and is already taking shots at the team's ownership and front office. In a FoxSports.com story about the success of small market teams such as Oakland, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, Perez was critical about the Indians ownership and front office.
Asked about the difference between the Indians and AL Central rival Detroit, Perez pointed to Indians owner Larry Dolan and Detroit owner Mike Ilitch.
"Different owners," Perez is quoted as saying. "It comes down to that. [The Tigers] are spending money. [Ilitch] wants to win. Even when the economy was down [in Detroit], he spent money. He's got a team to show for it. You get what you pay for in baseball. Sometimes you don't. But most of the time you do."
The Tigers opened the season with a $133.5 million payroll. The Indians opened at $65 million.
The story made the point that small-market general managers have a smaller margin for error when it comes to trading their key players. It said Oakland GM Billy Beane got more in return for Andrew Bailey, Trevor Cahill and Carlos Gonzalez than the Tribe did for CC Sabathia (2008) and Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez (2009).
"You can't miss," Perez said. "You have to be right. That's why I say it's not just ownership. They don't make the trades. It's the GMs. It goes hand in hand. The GMs can only spend the money the owners give them, but they pick who they spend it on or who they don't. They pick. The owners don't pick.
"Josh Willingham would look great in this lineup. They didn't want to [pay] for that last year. ... That's the decision they make, and this is the bed we're laying in."
The Indians pursued the right-handed hitting Willingham last winter, but he signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Twins. The Indians reportedly would only offer Willingham two years.
When asked about the comments before Wednesday's game, Perez said, "It's all online right? There you go."
Manager Manny Acta, when told of Perez's comments, said, "That's his opinion and I don't have anything to add to it."
"While we work to understand various perspectives, we strongly disagree with Chris' comments," said Tribe GM Chris Antonetti. "Nonetheless, we are not satisfied with our recent results and our entire organization remains committed to fielding winning teams and that is the standard by which we will continue to operate."
Antonetti did talk to Perez. Asked if Perez would be disciplined, Antonetti said only that the matter would be handle internally.
Earlier in the year Perez ripped fans for not coming to Progressive Field when the Indians were in first place in the Central. He also criticized Cleveland fans for their loyalty to the Browns and their refusal to forgive LeBron James for leaving the Cavaliers. On a recent trip, he became embroiled in a profanity-laced argument with a fan in Oakland that was videotaped and put on the Internet.
"We all have different DNA and we all have to live with each other and deal with each other the best way we can," said Acta, when asked if it was frustrating to manage Perez. "What really concerns is when he comes into the game in the ninth inning to save the game and gets it. The rest of the stuff we handle internally."
Not closed yet: Perez saved his 34th game Tuesday. He did it by returning to the scene of one of his biggest blown saves of the year. On Aug. 5, Perez entered the 10th inning with an 8-5 lead. He retired the first two batters and then gave up five runs in a 10-5 Tiger victory.
"When I got to two outs [Tuesday] that's what I thought about," said Perez. "You're supposed to have a short memory as a closer, but you never really forget. I used it as motivation."