A little bit of spice has been added to the St. Louis Cardinals' 2015 match-ups with their division rivals from Milwaukee.
The Brewers have signed former Redbirds reliever Chris Perez.
To many, Perez is best known for his time as the Cleveland Indians closer after he was traded away from St. Louis. To others he is best known for having a package of marijuana sent to his home addressed to the name of his dog. But to me he will always be the guy that prevented Jason Motte from officially being named the Cardinals closer during the Tony La Russa era.
Perez chafed under La Russa in 2009 when the Cardinals skipper didn't just hand over the reigns to the then 23-year-old right-hander despite the facts that he pitched to a 4.13 ERA and the Birds had Ryan Franklin and Jason Motte on the roster to compete for the job.
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The outspoken Perez mouthed off in an interview with a play me or trade me ultimatum. And the Cardinals chose the latter. Franklin eventually flamed out and Motte was the guy who pitched in the ninth inning. But La Russa would never give in and call him the closer after the flap with Perez.
Perez in 2012 took a shot at the post La Russa Redbirds when he accused Cardinals pitchers of cheating by doctoring baseballs with pine tar.
Perez had one excellent season with Cleveland and a couple more decent ones. Last year at this season he found himself a free agent and signed with the Dodgers in a bullpen largely composed of former closers. It didn't go well and now he's landed in a new uniform.
The Brewers and Birds have scrapped often over the past three or four years because of inside pitches, alleged public disrespect and other issues. So don't look for members of these clubs to send each other birthday cards anytime soon.
Apparently still with an axe to grind against St. Louis, it will be interesting to see him face off against the Cardinals in games that matter. He'll likely be less buddy-buddy with his former teammates than the affable Motte who now wears the uniform of another division rival, the Chicago Cubs.