Bowden: Pick Up The Phone, Odalis
The Nationals have two simple requests for absent pitcher Odalis Perez, still holding out in the Dominican Republic.
They want him to honor his contract.
And also -- oh by the way -- they want him to pick up his telephone.
Even as the likelihood diminishes that Perez ever appears in Viera, much less makes the team, Washington is still waiting to hear from the 31-year-old left-hander before it decides the next step. Perhaps the team can cut him, attempt to suspend him, or even simply hold him hostage, claiming a valid contract.
"He has not returned my calls, he has not returned Manny's calls, he has not returned his agents calls. So, we're waiting to hear back from him," General Manager Jim Bowden said today.
Today is baseball's mandatory reporting date for all players, but the Nationals still have not decided whether to hold Perez accountable for his absence.
"We're looking at all of our options," Bowden said. "We're taking the position obviously that we have an agreement with the player and we're expecting the player to honor the agreement. But we'd like to talk to him first, so we're going to wait until he calls us back and then we'll address the other options at that point."
In February 2008, Perez began his tenure with the Nationals by signing a non-guaranteed minor league deal, worth $850,000 if he made the club. He not only made the club, he started on Opening Day. By season's end, Perez had made 30 starts, going 7-12 with a 4.34 ERA.
He entered the offseason expecting a better contract, but the market lagged, and Perez, almost three weeks ago, again signed with the Nationals. Again, in a non-guaranteed minor-league deal.
"Look, I understand the disappointment. I've been through this before," Bowden said. "Tony Fernandez [I remember] in '95 where he signed a $500,000 deal and his normal market was $2 or $3 million and he was very upset about the contract and was unhappy. We ended up winning the division that year, and he had a lot to do with it. But I understand someone feeling disrespected. He gave us a lot of starts last year, a 2.00 ERA at home. But the fact is he agreed to the deal, and he had a chance to sign with any of the 30 teams and he made an agreement with us, and we expect him to honor it."
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