The Mets’ $36 million mistake

Oliver Perez
New York Mets' Oliver Perez, right, reacts after hitting Philadelphia Phillies' Ryan Howard with a pitch to load the bases during the eighth inning in July 24, 2008 at Shea Stadium in New York. (AP Photo)

Oliver Perez was acquired along with reliever Roberto Hernandez on July 31, 2006 for outfielder Xavier Nady. That season, Perez was 1-3 with an 6.38 ERA in seven starts for the Mets.

The lefthander had perhaps his best season in 2007 going 15-10 with a 3.56 ERA, issuing only 79 walks in 177 innings pitched. Perez was often bailed out by the Mets offense when he suffered meltdowns.

But in 2008, Perez was inconsistent, posting a record of 10–7 with a 4.22 ERA. He was also prone to single-inning shellings at any momeny. He led the majors in walks, with 105.

Perez signed a three-year $36 million deal with Mets before the 2009 season. He responded by appearing in just 14 games and allowed at least one run in every single game. In 66 innings pitched, Perez surrendered 51 runs and walked 58 batters with an ERA of 6.82. The slumping southpaw faced 324 batters in 2009, 131 of them reached base – 40 percent of those guys reached base.

To put that in perspective, Johan Santana faced 701 batters and 205 reached base that same season (28 percent).

Perez finished the 2010 season with 0 wins, 5 losses, and a 6.80 ERA in just 46.1 innings pitched.

The Mets unconditionally released Perez on March 21, 2011, and owe him $12 million for the remainder of the season under his existing contract.

The release closes the chapter of one of worst free agent re-signings in team history and removing the main target of media scrutiny and the fans wrath.

Here’s a look back at some ulcer-making performances.

Perez’s 3 walks after hit batter gives Nats’ win

October 3, 2010

Calling on Oliver Perez for the 14th inning was not one of the end-of-season tributes Jerry Manuel had in mind for his players in what was likely his final game as manager of the Mets.

Perez hit Adam Kennedy with a pitch before walking three batters in a row, and the Washington Nationals beat New York 2-1 to avoid a three-game sweep.

In the second season of a $36 million, three-year contract, he was banished to the bullpen in May and has pitched just four times since Aug. 1.

The left-hander entered to loud boos in the 14th. With one out, he plunked Kennedy in the shoulder. Kennedy stole second before Roger Bernadina and pinch-hitter Wil Nieves walked to load the bases. Justin Maxwell walked to force in the go-ahead run.

Perez has walked 42 hitters in 46 1/3 innings this season.

Loney hits walk-off homer in 13th

July 24, 2010

Oliver Perez, starting his second inning of relief, retired Matt Kemp on a broken-bat fly ball before Loney drove a 1-0 pitch into the pavilion seats in right-center. Loney’s home run in the 13th inning gave the Dodgers a 3-2 victory.

Perez was activated from the disabled list a few days earlier.

“It was one mistake. I wanted to throw one down on the corner, but I missed up and he hit it well,” said Perez, who escaped a bases-loaded jam in the 12th by retiring pinch-hitter Jamey Carroll on a fielder’s choice grounder. “Everybody can make mistakes. Today I was the guy who lost the game.”

Hart continues tear as road-weary Mets fall

May 29, 2010

Oliver Perez came in emergency duty when Mets starter Fernando Nieve was ineffective and proved not to be much better.

Corey Hart hit a two-run homer off Perez in the third to make it 7-3. It was his second home run of the game and third in consecutive at-bats.

The Mets answered the next inning to make it 7-6, but Rickie Weeks tripled to start the fourth and scored on a double-play grounder by Ryan Braun. Ollie got out of the inning but not before leaving a bad taste in the mouths of Met fans as the Mets lost 8-6.

Ollie’s last stand as a starter

May 14, 2010

Dan Uggla drove in four runs with two homers for the Marlins, who went deep four times and beat the Mets 7-2.

Chris Coghlan hit the first home run by a left-handed batter for Florida this season, and Gaby Sanchez also homered. The Marlins totaled more than four runs for the first time in 10 games and scored first for only the second time in the past 14, building a 7-0 lead.

All the homers came off a struggling Oliver Perez, matching his career high. He had given up only one previously this season.

Perez lasted only 3 1/3 innings for the second start in a row, allowed all seven Florida runs and remained winless since Aug. 18, 2009.

Perez stinks it up again

May 9, 2010

The Giants jumped out to a 4-0 lead thanks to another awful start by Oliver Perez, who walked a season-high seven and hit a batter in 3 1/3 innings.

After a perfect first, Perez walked the leadoff batter in three straight innings. In the second, the Giants combined their two hits off Perez with the walk and a wild pitch to take a 2-0 lead.

Matt Downs had an RBI single and Ryan Rohlinger, called up Friday for the injured Edgar Renteria, drove in a run with a groundout.

Perez again loaded the bases in the third with two walks and hit backup catcher Eli Whiteside. But he left unscathed when Angel Pagan made a running catch of Downs’ drive to left-center for the third out.

The half-inning took 17 minutes and Perez threw 35 pitches, 21 balls.

The fourth was much of the same. Perez walked the bases loaded while getting one out, a fielder’s choice by Lincecum. After walking Andres Torres for the second straight inning, Perez was lifted to lusty boos from the crowd of 35,641.

Perez erratic again

April 10, 2010

Mets starter Oliver Perez was his typical, mercurial self, setting Washington down in order in the first before running into trouble in the second. He loaded the bases with two outs for Willy Taveras, who scorched a liner into left-center to make it 2-0.

Taveras added his two-run single in the fourth that made it 4-2.

Perez put the Mets behind and surrendered 4 runs, 4 hits, 4 walks in 5.2 innings to take the loss.

Ollie puts Mets in a hole early

August 23, 2009

The Phillies scored six times in the first inning off Oliver Perez on three-run homers by Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz.

The Citi Field crowd of 39,038 stood and cheered as Phillies starter Pedro Martinez walked to the plate in the Phillies’ road gray-and-red uniform, a jarring sight for sure after he spent the previous four years with the Mets.

Martinez worked the count to 3-0 and Mets manager Jerry Manuel came out to remove Perez, bothered recently by a tender right knee that sidelined him earlier this season. The move got a loud ovation, and Perez was soundly booed as he walked off the field having thrown 47 pitches — 20 strikes — and getting just two outs.

Nelson Figueroa struck out Martinez to end the 26-minute inning. The Phillies defeated the Mets 9-7.

Oliver Perez loses control again

July 21, 2009

The Washington Nationals were able to capitalize on Perez’s lack of control in the middle innings.

Oliver Perez gave up four earned runs in six innings, walking six and hitting a batter.

Walks to Ryan Zimmerman and Austin Kearns and an Adam Dunn single in the fourth loaded the bases with one out. Alberto Gonzalez hit a line drive to right that Jeff Francoeur dropped. Francoeur forced Kearns at second, and Zimmerman scored on the play. Wil Nieves then singled to score Dunn, giving the Nationals a 2-0 lead.

Perez hit Morgan to lead off the fifth and Zimmerman walked before Dunn’s RBI single and Josh Willingham’s sacrifice fly gave Washington two more runs. The Nats won 4-0.

Perez’s ERA continues to soar

May 2, 2009

Oliver Perez’s ERA jumped to 9.97 after allowing four earned runs on five hits and six walks in 2 1/3 innings in the Philadelphia Phillies to a 6-5 victory over the Mets.

Perez won 25 games for the Mets over the last two seasons, but the lefty has been awful this season. Manager Jerry Manuel wanted to give him a chance to face the Phillies before making a decision on removing him from the rotation. Perez was 1-0 with a 0.35 ERA against Philadelphia in four starts and 26 innings last year.

Nats tag Ollie

April 26, 2009

Jesus Flores homered and drove in three runs against the Mets, Austin Kearns also teed off on an ineffective Oliver Perez

After getting tagged for seven runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings, the erratic lefty has a 9.31 ERA.

Only four starts after re-signing with New York for $36 million over three years, he could be in jeopardy of losing his spot in the rotation.

Perez has allowed 15 walks and 23 hits in 19 1/3 innings. He was booed off the field by a frustrated crowd of 40,023 — even Wright heard catcalls during an 0-for-4 day that included a run-scoring throwing error from third base.

Perez starts season on wrong foot

April 9, 2009

Joey Votto had a three-run homer and a run-scoring single off Oliver Perez, who rarely has such a tough time against left-handed hitters, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Mets 8-6.

Perez who in his first start after signing a $36 million, three-year contract gave up his highest run total in nearly two years. Perez allowed eight in only 4 1/3 innings — the first time he’d given up that many runs since May 7, 2007.

Perez led NL pitchers in stifling left-handed hitters last season — they batted only .158 against him. Only five left-handers homered off him.

Perez has a quick night

September 9, 2008

Perez’s night ended after 3 1/3 innings, his shortest outing since being yanked after 1 2/3 innings on April 30, when he also gave up seven runs.

The Mets took a 2-0 lead in the 2nd inning, Perez gave up two runs to tie the game in the third. The Mets scored three in the bottom of the third inning to go up 5-2.

Perez blew the lead again allowing the Nationals to score five times in the fourth before being yanked. The Mets came back to win 10-8.

Perez lends hand in Mets latest collapse

September 24, 2008

New York starter Oliver Perez was chased after 4 1/3 innings and 105 pitches. Perez allowed six hits, five runs, walked five while striking out six.

Perez gave up a two-run double to mark DeRosa in the fifth, and Reed Johnson singled. When Daniel Murphy overran the ball for an error, pinch-runner Kosuke Fukudome came home with the tying run.

The Cubs tied the score 5-5 off Duaner Sanchez, with the help of an error by Murphy in left, then went ahead on Alfonso Soriano’s RBI double in the seventh against Brian Stokes. The Cubs won 9-6.

Perez finishes with shortest start of career

June 2, 2008

The Giants knocked New York starter Oliver Perez out after he got only one out. Perez surrendered five hits and two walks, allowing six runs and two bombs to Randy Winn and Brian Horwitz.

Perez was done after only 36 pitches for the shortest start of his career and gave way to Claudio Vargas, who happens to be the last starter San Francisco chased in the first inning — on Aug. 24 last year at Milwaukee. Perez had gone 1 2/3 innings three times as the Giants crushed the Mets 10-2.

Perez implodes as Mets embarrassed by M’s

June 24, 2008

Richie Sexson had three RBIs and Kenji Johjima hit a two-run shot for Seattle, which took advantage of a shaky Oliver Perez in their 11-0 win.

Johjima, who entered with a .218 batting average, hit a 2-1 pitch from Perez into the visitors’ bullpen in left to give Seattle a 5-0 lead in the third inning. Johjima’s two-out drive was his third of the year and scored Sexson, who was aboard after a one-out single.

Perez struck out Willie Bloomquist to get out of the inning, and the Shea Stadium crowd booed as the left-hander made his way to the dugout.

“Just a bad day,” he said. Perez allowed six runs, five earned, and seven hits in five innings. He is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in his last seven starts.

Perez woes continue

May 5, 2008

Oliver Perez lost his third straight start, allowing five runs and six hits over six innings. It was his first outing since Mets closer Billy Wagner’s public criticism of the left-hander, who gave up a combined total of 12 runs, eight hits and nine walks against Washington and Pittsburgh in his previous two starts.

Perez’s woes continued in the opener of this three-game series, as the switch-hitting Furcal drove a 0-2 pitch to left-center for his 11th leadoff homer with the Dodgers.

Juan Pierre followed with a single, stole second with one out and Jeff Kent batting. The former Met hit a vicious line drive that struck Perez right in the bread basket, but the pitcher recovered in time to throw him out as Pierre took third. Russell Martin drove in Pierre with a single, and Perez retired 10 of his next 11 batters before giving up three more runs in the fifth.

The Dodgers defeated the Mets 5-1.

Pirates take advantage of Mets

April 30, 2008

Oliver Perez couldn’t find the plate, Luis Castillo couldn’t find the ball and Jose Reyes couldn’t find second base.
The Mets bumbled through a sloppy performance and the Pirates seemed to make them pay for every mistake. Pittsburgh scored nine unearned runs in a 13-1 victory.

It all started when Perez walked the bases loaded with one out. Gorzelanny hit a slow roller to second, but Castillo dropped the ball for an error as he tried to start a double play. Perez then walked in another run, nearly hitting Nate McLouth on ball four.

After a single and a sacrifice fly drove in two more runs to make it 4-0, Ryan Doumit ripped a hit down the third-base line. He got caught in a rundown between first and second, the Mets’ second chance to escape the inning.

Castillo chased him toward first then threw to Carlos Delgado. When Doumit reversed direction, there was nobody for Delgado to throw to: Reyes wasn’t covering second, and Doumit made it there easily.

That knocked Perez out of the game after 55 pitches — just 28 strikes — in 1 2/3 innings. He walked five, giving him 14 over his last three starts.

Perez hurts Mets playoff chances

September 28, 2007

Oliver Perez hit a pair of batters with the bases loaded and the Mets stumbled out of the NL East lead with a 7-4 loss to the last-place Florida Marlins.

The Marlins pushed across two runs in the third to take a 4-1 lead as Perez tied a major league record by hitting three batters in one inning.

The Marlins loaded the bases again in the fourth, after Perez retired the first two batters of the inning. Cabrera’s two-run single off the glove of diving shortstop Jose Reyes made it 6-3 and chased Perez.

The Shea Stadium crowd booed lustily as Perez bounded off the mound toward the dugout. He allowed six hits, walked two and struck out four after coming in with a 5-1 record and a 2.91 ERA in his previous seven starts.

Braves beat up Perez

August 7, 2007

Mets starter Oliver Perez, who had allowed three runs in 20 2/3 innings in three starts against Atlanta this season, gave up six runs, all earned, and 10 hits in five innings.

Jeff Francoeur paced a 15-hit attack with four hits including a three-run homer in Atlanta’s 7-3 win.

Perez allowed two earned runs or less in 12 of his first 19 starts but was nowhere near that efficient in No. 20.

Tigers eat up Bad Ollie

June 9, 2007

Oliver Perez pitched five innings, allowing a season-high five earned runs on seven hits with five walks.

Perez’s five walks were his most since matching a career high with seven on April 11 against Philadelphia.

Carlos Guillen’s three-run homer off Perez in the bottom of the first gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead. Then the Tigers went ahead 5-3 on a two-run single to left by Rodriguez in the fifth.

The Tigers won 8-7.

Defense and homers hurt Perez

May 7, 2007

Perez started out great and had one of his classic meltdowns with a little help from his defense.

Perez retired the first nine Giants before Randy Winn beat out an infield single to start the fourth inning.

In the fifth, Perez walked Ray Durham, Bengie Molina homered. Retired the next two batters, pitcher Barry Zito singled, Randy Winn reached on an error. Omar Vizquel also reached on an error followed by Rich Aurilla’s three run homer. Barry Bonds walked and Ray Durham singled to end Perez’s day.

He lasted just 4 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs — two earned — and five hits as San Francisco beat the New York Mets 9-4.

Phillies walk all over Perez

April 11, 2007

The Philadelphia Phillies hardly had to take the bats off their shoulders to beat Oliver Perez in Phillies 5-2 win.

Perez walked the bases loaded in the second inning before retiring Eaton to avoid any damage. But the erratic left-hander wasn’t as fortunate in the third. After getting two quick outs, he gave up a single to Chase Utley and walked four straight. Perez then plunked Rod Barajas with a 2-2 pitch, making it 3-0.

That was all for Perez, who matched his career high for walks and threw only 32 strikes in 73 pitches. It was a strikingly sudden loss of command. He did not walk a batter in his first start, when he pitched seven strong innings to beat Atlanta 11-1. And he walked just seven in 25 2/3 innings in spring training.

Braves tomahawk Mets and Perez

September 26, 2006

Mets left-hander Oliver Perez gave up homers to Andruw Jones, Willy Aybar and Matt Diaz an embarrassing 12-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

Diaz drove in Jones with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly to push the lead to 6-0 and knock Perez out of the game.

Perez took his third loss with only one win in six starts since joining the Mets in a trade from Pittsburgh. He gave up seven hits and six runs with three walks and five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.

Perez introduces himself to Mets

August 31, 2006

Oliver Perez allowed seven runs and 12 hits in three-plus innings and saw his ERA swell to 7.29 in Colorado’s 8-4 win. Perez’s second start as a Met after being acquired from Pittsburgh was not a memorable one.

Perez would like to forget about most of this season altogether. He hasn’t won since May 17, when he was pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Perez had trouble right from the start. He gave up three runs in the first inning and had to feel lucky it wasn’t twice that, what with Choo Freeman’s drive to right dying in the wind with two men on. Matt Holliday had a two-run single in the first and Chris Iannetta added an RBI single.

About the Author

Lifetime Met fan who hates his parents for making him become a Mets fan as a child. No amount of therapy has helped and cannot switch teams now. Quitting smoking was easier. What a joke this organization really is, how much pain and suffering it has brought us through the years. Bad enough to be in Big Apple with Yankees fans.

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