1/8 Perez eager to join Cubs
Outfielder Fernando Perez told the St. Petersburg Times he was “very excited” about going to the Cubs. Perez was reported to be one of the Rays Minor League players included in the deal in which the Cubs get pitcher Matt Garza. Chicago will send five players to Tampa Bay, including Chris Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Brandon Guyer, Robinson Chirinos and Sam Fuld. The deal could be announced Saturday.
“I think there’s a lot of reasons I really liked the Rays, it’s the only place I’ve ever known,” Perez told the Times in a phone interview Friday. “I loved it there. And I’m prone to sentimentalism. … But the opportunity is probably better [in Chicago], so I’m excited. I would have loved for it to have worked out in Tampa Bay, and it was probably going to happen before I hurt my wrist [in Spring Training 2009] and everyone forgot my name.”
A switch-hitting outfielder, Perez came off the bench for the Rays in the 2008 World Series. He dislocated his wrist diving for a fly ball in Spring Training. He’s healthy now.
“I’m totally looking ahead,” he said. “Who wouldn’t want to play for the Cubs?”
Cubs GM Jim Hendry called Perez Friday and told him there were people within the organization who had wanted the speedy outfielder for some time.
“I’m really, really excited,” Perez said. “I’m sad to go. … I know this is a business, and that’s how it works.”
Perez has acknowledged the deal on his Twitter account, saying, “Getting traded is so distracting! Readin same pg over&over thinkin ’bout ivy and pena doing dugout dance b4 WS game garza starts & wins”
That may be a reference to the decisive Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Oct. 19, 2008, between the Rays and Red Sox, which Garza, Carlos Pena and Tampa Bay won, 3-1. Garza gave up one run on two hits and struck out nine over seven innings, and was named MVP of the series.
Perez has appeared in 41 games with the Rays in 2008 and ’09, and was on the roster for the ’08 postseason. He appeared in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the World Series as a pinch-runner and stole second. But the Phillies won the game, 4-3, and the series.
– Carrie Muskat