Bad Free Agent Signings: Oliver Perez

New York Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen talks as catcher Brian Schneider and starting pitcher Oliver Perez wipe their faces in the seventh inning aginst the New York Yankees at Shea Stadium, June 29, 2008.(REUTERS)

Although pitcher Oliver Perez was acquired in a trade back in July of 2006 with reliever Roberto Hernandez for outfielder Xavier Nady. The resigning of Perez back 2009 truly stands out in his Met career.

Perez was included in the deal after the injury of reliever Duaner Sanchez. Sanchez suffered a separated shoulder was injured in a taxicab accident and required season-ending surgery.

Perez was brought up in August and after two subpar starts, Perez threw a complete game shutout against the Atlanta Braves in the second game of a doubleheader on September 6, 2006.

After the Mets lost two starting pitchers to injury in the final week before the playoffs started, they were forced to use Perez in the playoff rotation.

His first playoff start came in Game 4 of the NLCS, in which he picked up his first career postseason win.

His second playoff start came in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS vs. the Cardinals, he went 6 strong innings allowing 1 ER, with assistance of Endy Chavez. The Mets would eventually go on to lose the game 3–1.

Entering the 2007 season, there were concerns about the Mets’ pitching staff and whether Perez could live up to his potential? However, Pérez emerged as one of the Mets’ most consistent pitchers. Perez finished the 2007 season 15–10 with a 3.56 ERA, striking out 174 in 177 innings pitched, while walking only 79.

On February 3, 2009, the Mets re-signed Perez to a three-year, $36 million deal to return to the Mets. The organization passed over Derek Lowe for Ollie because Lowe wanted a 4th year in his deal. After going 25-17 the previous two seasons, Ollie did not receive any offers from other teams. Perhaps one of the worst free agent signings by a general manager in the history of baseball.

On May 6, Perez was put on the disabled list due to patellar tendinitis in his right leg.

He returned to the rotation on July 8, 2009. His final start of the season on August 23; Bad Ollie did make out of the first inning against the Phillies. Ollie faced eight batters and was pulled with the Mets behind 6-0.

On August 26, 2009, Perez was diagnosed with patellar tendinitis in his right knee and underwent undergo season-ending surgery. He finished the season 3–4 with a 6.82 ERA.

Perez has had a very unsuccessful start to the 2010 season. On opening day at Citi Field, he was loudly booed by the Flushing faithful during team introductions. On May 14 in Florida, Perez made his final start against the Marlins. Bad Ollie surrendered nine hits, seven runs, and four home runs while walking three in three and a third innings.

In his first seven starts Ollie was 0-3 with a 5.94 ERA. He game up 24 runs and walked 28 batters in 33.1 innings.

On May 15, manager Jerry Manuel placed the struggling lefty in the bullpen after a string of poor outings in the rotation. Perez refused a minor league assignment to work on his pitching despite repeated attempts by the Mets’ front office.

On June 5, 2010, the Mets placed Perez on the 15-day DL due to a patella tendinitis of right knee. As Perez was placed on the DL soon after refusing an assignment to the minor leagues a second time, the league investigated the timing of the DL stint, clearing it.

Perez returned to the active roster on July 21. He then refused yet another assignment to the minor leagues to work out his control problems. Ollie was hidden in the Mets bullpen, part of the baseball witness protection program. He was used occasionally for mop up duties in blowouts and true to his form, Bad Ollie adds his blend of wildness to the blowout.

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

On March 21st, 2011, the Mets released Perez two days after the left-hander allowed consecutive home runs to minor leaguers.

The Mets chose to absorb the $12 million remaining on Perez’s $36 million, three-year contract rather than keep a pitcher who has been ineffective in trying to make the team as a reliever.

Perez had a spring training ERA of 8.38 in 9 2/3 innings.

Bad Ollie’s career numbers with the Mets.

2006 1 3 .250 6.38 7 7 0 1 1 0 36.2 41 26 26 7 17 41 3 1.582
2007 15 10 .600 3.56 29 29 0 0 0 0 177.0 153 90 70 22 79 174 7 1.311
2008 10 7 .588 4.22 34 34 0 0 0 0 194.0 167 100 91 24 105 180 11 1.402
2009 3 4 .429 6.82 14 14 0 0 0 0 66.0 69 51 50 12 58 62 4 1.924
2010 0 5 .000 6.80 17 7 4 0 0 0 46.1 54 37 35 9 42 37 4 2.072
NYM 29 29 .500 4.71 101 91 4 1 1 0 520.0 484 304 272 74 301 494 29 1.510

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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