The Washington Times - December 9, 2011, 06:11PM

The Nationals made their first trade of the 2011 offseason on Friday evening, sending one of the organization’s longest-tenured players, right-hander Collin Balester, to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for right-hander Ryan Perry, a former first-round pick.

Perry was drafted by the Tigers 21st overall in the 2008 draft out of the University of Arizona and the 24-year-old has spent three years as a reliever for the reigning American League Central champions. In three seasons in the major leagues Perry has a 4.07 ERA in 161 1/3 innings. His best season for the Tigers was 2010 in which he appeared in 60 games, including 24 “high-leverage” situations and earned 19 holds.

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At just 24-years-old, Perry still has one option remaining — something that the 25-year-old Balester was out of — and the 6-foot-4 righty is considered to have an upside as a possible set-up reliever. His fastball’s clocked between 94-98 mph along with a power slider. He’s a ground-ball pitcher, too, with a 52.1 percent ground-ball rate, according to STATS, Inc.,  which is something the Nationals are extremely high on. He’s struck out 7.2 batters per nine innings over the course of his three-year major league career. In 149 career appearances, Perry has allowed just 14 home runs.

Balester, a 2004 fourth-round pick of the Montreal Expos, was one of the lone holdovers from the organization’s Montreal days. A lanky right-hander Balester struggled as a starter for the Nationals but enjoyed success as a reliever the past two seasons. He spent much of his time in 2011 shuttling between Triple-A Syracuse and the major leagues but served a vital long-relief role for Washington in the season’s final two months.