Oliver Perez Signed
Finally, the Mets signed Oliver Perez.
The contract is a very fair three years at $36M. Not too much for the Mets to feel hamstrung in the event Ollie spends more time as Mr. Hyde, and not so little that Perez should feel slighted. And in fact, the three-year contract makes a lot of sense for the still-young lefty, who at the end will be only 30 years old and — if he plays his cards right — could be in line for a mega deal.
Personally, I’m very happy Oliver Perez is back with the Mets. He’s one of the few members of the team who has some style and character, and plays the entire game with passion. Yes, that passion sometimes is his downfall, and he has yet to learn how to avoid falling apart and beating himself when things go poorly. However, it’s part of who he is, and I enjoy watching “colorful” and unique ballplayers.
As we all know, Ollie is as gifted as any lefthander in MLB. Whether he can “figure it out” and get his mental skills to reach the levels of his physical gifts remains to be seen. Should that connection ever occur, the Mets could have the best lefty in the NL, a dominant Cy Young candidate. More likely, he’ll be the same Ollie we’ve known since 2006 — up and down, outstanding at times and awful at others. In the end, that’s OK, because the bottom line is this: he takes the ball every five days, and he goes into the 7th inning the majority of the time. Yes, there are days he can’t get out of the fourth (or third) frame, but for more than half his starts, he’ll get past the sixth. Considering that both John Maine and Johan Santana are coming off surgeries, and the back end is full of question marks, one cannot underestimate the value of an above-average starter making 30-32 starts. It’s easy to forget the days that people like Brian Lawrence, Jose Lima, Dave Williams, and Chan Ho Park took the mound too many times.
With Oliver Perez in the fold, we can assume that the Mets are done assembling arms for the starting rotation — though, I’d still like to see Pedro Martinez brought back on a minor league deal. They might pick up another scrub for the back end, but you can forget Ben Sheets — at this point, it ain’t gonna happen. Hopefully, Omar Minaya will now focus on bringing in one or two more middle relief arms (Chad Cordero?) and a power-hitting outfielder. At this point, I no longer care if it’s a lefthanded hitter (Adam Dunn? Bobby Abreu?) or a righty (Manny Ramirez!) — a strong hitting lefty is still better than anything that Fernando Tatis and Danny Murphy can produce.
Oh, and how about picking up Pudge Rodriguez on the cheap, to platoon with Brian Schneider? He’ll come cheap.
One can go the other way on the “what ifs,” too, but I prefer to be an optimist. It’s just me.
IMO, I’m not at all convinced that he’s worth $12M/yr – simply based on speculation that he improves to be Ace #2. I believe Minaya was thinking that if Ollie reaches his prime at 29, in his 2nd contract year, the Mets may have a year or so contracted at a bargain price 3rd year, after he peaks.
Omar is gambling now to save later, which is a double gamble – because Omar gambles that Ollie WILL BE worth $12M [he isn’t worth it right now at 10-ish wins, +4.00 ERA] in the 1st and 2nd contract years, and Omar gambles that Ollie WILL BE worth MORE THAN $12M in the 3rd contract year. It doesn’t make any sense.
By the 3rd contract year, if Ollie becomes Johan, the Mets would get saddled with Ollie’s free agency anyway, and would have to pay him even more than $12M or lose him, which you must assume because you would have to make the add’l speculation that the Mets would be in a position to take him back. In this economy [yep, why not use that excuse, like everyone else is?] Minaya should have worked towards more like 2 years in the $8M range [bearing in mind he made $6.5M last year], then get a mutual option for a 3rd year to trim up to $12M in that 3rd option year. Take that $8M that you’ve saved in years 1 & 2 and, if he’s earned it, shovel it over to him in free agency, and if he hasn’t, buy yourself a solid outfielder in his mid-20’s for a couple of years, you saved enough to roll the dice on someone else.
3-year contracts aren’t just handed out this offseason. Take away the Yanks opening the vaults, and there are about 8 contracts out of 100+ free agents that go any further than just a 2-year committment. And 2 of those contracts [Marte NYY & Rivera LAA] are in the $4M/yr range. This Ollie business is risky at best.
Last comment – do you think that Ollie is worth more than K-Rod?