Is there anyone more resilient in Major League Baseball than Oliver Perez? Stick with me here. Even if his days with the New York Mets continue to haunt your dreams, we have to give him some credit.
Perez hasn’t pitched a game for the Mets since 2010. At the time, it looked like his career could be over with. He started his final major league game for the Mets that year at 28-years-old.
Now 40, he is about to enter his 20th major league season. This time, it’ll be as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Oliver Perez tormented us with the Mets but completely redefined his role in the big leagues more than once
After leaving the Mets, Perez spent the 2011 season in Double-A with the Washington Nationals. Not even Triple-A. The level below it!
He pitched well as one might expect from a big leaguer. The following season, however, he had a new organization and a different plan in mind.
Perez moved to the bullpen full-time in 2012 as a member of the Seattle Mariners’ Triple-A squad. He actually wasn’t all that great. He had a 4.65 ERA in 31 innings of work. However, when he rejoined the big league ranks, Perez was effective. He had a 2.12 ERA in 29.2 innings of work. Suddenly, he had a new major league life.
Throughout the rest of the decade, Perez was used as a LOOGY. He would face a batter or two at the most the majority of the time. He was pretty good at it, too. It wasn’t until he joined Cleveland in 2018 that he became a lot more consistent and a recognized reliable reliever across the league.
Perez spent the past four seasons in Cleveland pitching to a 2.57 ERA. He made a total of 144 appearances while logging only 94.2 innings of work.
The addition of the three-batter-minimum rule tried to force Perez into retirement. However, he continued on through it and will take another crack at overcoming that obstacle in 2022 with the Diamondbacks: a team he pitched for in 2014 and 2015.
Mets fans don’t have fond memories of Perez doing anything more than walking a batter when they were more fearful he might give up a home run. This year, with his return to the National League, maybe some of the current Mets find some retribution. Maybe it’s even at the home opener when the Diamondbacks come to visit Citi Field.