2) Oliver Perez
It’s weird to think that Oliver Perez is still in the league, coming off of a pretty good year in fact. He’s a consistently effective LOOGY now, but that’s not how Mets fans remember him.
Perez was acquired from the Pirates via trade in 2006. He was pretty bad down the stretch with a 6.38 ERA in 7 starts but the Mets made the playoffs anyway and he pitched just fine the next two seasons.
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He had a WAR of 1.8 in each of 2007 and 2008 with the Mets. Not great, but good enough for a back-end starter. Usually results like these aren’t deserving of a multi-year contract. Guys like Perez join a team, eat up innings, and leave. That’s baseball.
But, somehow the Mets decided Perez deserved a 3 year, $36 million contract for this hardly average performance. Perez quickly proved to everyone he wasn’t worth the money by managing -2.3 WAR over the next couple of seasons.
He was literally costing the Mets wins compared to if they deployed a minor leaguer making league minimum in his place. He also only threw 110.1 innings between 2009 and 2010, so I suppose things could have been worse if he actually pitched more often.
Sandy Alderson took over as general manager and cut Perez from the roster during spring training of 2011. The Mets ate the remaining $12 million of his salary and Perez ultimately didn’t pitch in the majors again until 2012, only this time as a re-invented left-handed reliever.
Since then, he has made himself a nice little career as a lefty specialist, even making 114 appearances for the Nationals between 2016 and 2017. Both years the Nationals beat out the Mets and finished first in the National League East division.
Perez remains a haunting memory for Mets fans who feel like their favorite team has been cursed with injuries and poor free agent signings ever since suffering a crushing defeat in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. Perez started that game, by the way.