Mets Rumors: By any other name, Oliver Perez is a fine fit in Flushing
By Tim Boyle
New York Mets rumors have suggested the team could potentially consider lefty reliever Oliver Perez. Because of his history with the team, many have their doubts.
A relief pitcher by any other name would interest many more New York Mets fans hoping to see some offseason magic. Unfortunately, one mentioned in several Mets rumors is a man called Oliver Perez.
Perez’s history with the Mets is not a particularly good one. His name made it onto my list of modern Mets whose name we would like to forget. This winter, his name has appeared in a few Mets rumors which suggest he could be the left-handed specialist they will seek in free agency.
In his first stint with the Mets, Perez began as a starting pitcher. He struggled in late 2006 but pieced together a strong 2007. This included a 15-10 record and 3.56 ERA. The next season had its positive moments, with Perez finishing up at 10-7 with a 4.22 ERA.
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Everything went downhill after that. Perez posted ERAs of 6.82 and 6.80 in each of the next two seasons. Any control he had was now gone. During those final two seasons, Perez averaged 8 walks per nine innings.
Since, Perez has reinvented himself in the bullpen. Successful stints with the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks gave him an opportunity to pitch for the Washington Nationals in 2016 and 2017. Last year, he showed his brilliance with the Cleveland Indians.
In 32.1 innings, Perez went 1-1 with a 1.39 ERA. The 65 lefties who faced him slashed .194/.215/.274. The 55 righties were actually worse, hitting just .104/.218/.104. Taking this into consideration, perhaps he’s more than a lefty-specialist.
Prior to his penultimate game on September 26, Perez owned an impressive ERA of 0.87 on the year. A bad outing against the Chicago White Sox inflated it to a still awesome 1.42. He managed to lower it a little more a few days later.
In the minds of many, one good season doesn’t erase the past disasters in Flushing. I would agree. It’s hard to ignore how badly the first trip through went.
Previous Mets rumors have suggested the team has already moved on from the top-tier market of free agent relievers. This would include lefties Zach Britton and Andrew Miller.
Frankly, I don’t think fans who feel sick at the thought of Perez returning to the Mets need to worry. Sometimes we get too caught up in what teams want and ignore the biggest factor: where players want to sign. Perez is certainly intelligent enough to know what a return to the Orange and Blue would do.
Unless he’s looking for a redemption story, I don’t see it happening.
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As much of a fit as he is for the Mets, we cannot change his history with the team. Because of this, I see him landing elsewhere by his choice and nobody else’s.