The biggest free agent pitcher bust in Mets history

Arizona Diamonbacks vs New York Mets - June 3, 2007
Arizona Diamonbacks vs New York Mets - June 3, 2007 / Charles Sonnenblick/GettyImages

In need of starting pitching during their 2006 World Series run, the New York Mets acquired Óliver Pérez from the Pittsburgh Pirates for a package around Xavier Nady. Perez pitched well for the Mets during the 2006 postseason, and earned a spot in the starting rotation for the next two seasons. Despite this, he carried a 4.53 ERA through his first six seasons in the league.

During the 2008 campaign with the Mets, Pérez started 34 games and ended with a respectable 10-7 record. However, his ERA was still a measly 4.22, and he led the National League with 105 walks. Even so, the Mets decided that Pérez was worth a 3-year deal worth $12 million annually, which was a deal that would backfire on them horribly.

Óliver Pérez ended up becoming one of the worst free agency signings the Mets have ever made.

A knee injury cost Pérez most of his 2009 season, but even when he was healthy, the results weren't pretty. He ended the campaign with a 3-4 record and a whopping 6.82 ERA. Even worse, his control continued to decline, as he recorded 58 walks in just 66 innings pitched.

This was somehow the best season Pérez had on this contract; he went 0-5 with a 6.80 ERA the following year, and his control issues remained the same with 42 walks in 46 innings. He was assigned to bullpen work after seven starts, and eventually refused demotion to the minors after being benched. Pérez was released at the start of the 2011 season, having only played out two years of his three year deal.

Surprisingly, Pérez maintained a long career in the majors. He had stints all over the league, most recently giving up seven runs in four innings of work for the Arizona Diamondbacks during the 2022 season. Pérez retired following this campaign, with a winning percentage of .440 and a career ERA of 4.37. Even though he maintained a career in the majors for 20 seasons, his abhorrent play and the size of the contract make Óliver Pérez one of the worst starting pitchers the Mets have signed in their history.

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