Tag: oliver perez

The Mets: Giving Jason Bay The Bobby Bonilla Treatment

The Mets have certainly given us some colorful terms over their history. In several cases a word or two has been coined that succinctly sums up a seminal moment in the team’s history. There’s the recently broken “Fregosi Curse” that they were infected with after they traded Nolan Ryan. (Yes I know, the term originated on The Munsters, but work with me here). There’s the “Midnight Massacre;” which refers to the infamous night of June 15, 1977 when they traded Tom Seaver to the Reds. On the plus side there’s the “Buckner Game,” aka “Game Six.” More recently there’s the “Cab Ride,” the car accident that ultimately ruined both Duaner Sanchez’ career and the Mets 2006 season. Then there is “The Collapse,” which can refer to the end of either the 2007 or 2008 seasons.
There is another term used for eating massive amounts of money remaining on the contracts of unproductive and unhappy players. The Mets have done this a few times in their history, including Vince Coleman, Luis Castillo and most recently, to southpaw Oliver Perez. I think many Mets fans wish the team would just go ahead and “Ollie Perez” outfielder Jason Bay.
Bay’s rapid decline from one of the most feared hitters in the American League to one of the worst offensive players (current BA: .151) to ever don a big league uniform is the subject of tons of conjecture. I am in the “he changed pharma—err, training methods” camp, but what do I know. Well, I do know this, he is toast. At this point I believe the Mets could bring back Dave Schneck (Go Zephyrs) and he could outhit Bay.
But here’s the rub: if everything being reported in the press is true, the Mets won’t have any additional money to spend to fill several of the gaping holes in their lineup. That means if Bay is Ollie’d, a low cost alternative like Lucas Duda is the only option they will have; while the same budget constraints are also forcing them to shop in the discount rack for relief help and some right-handed outfielders. In other words, another inspiring off-season, and poor advanced ticket sales. The downward spiral continues.
Instead, the Mets need to “Bobby Bonilla” Jason Bay. Saddled with a toxic Bonilla after the 1999 season, the Mets worked out a long term buyout of Bonilla’s horrible contract and got him out of their hair. Yes, they are paying him today but at a reasonable cost (hey it isn’t my money) and if they invested the sunk cost wisely, the interest probably covers most of their annual obligation. They need to attempt the same thing here with Bay. If the reports are true and Bay is the stand-up guy he is portrayed as, he’ll go for the deal.
Bay is owed $16 million next year, with an option for $17 million in 2014 or a $3 million buy-out. Here is my proposal: bundle the $19 million he is due into a five year buy-out of evenly spaced payments. It allows Bay to save face and hopefully gives the Mets a little extra financial leeway heading into the offseason. Suddenly having $10-$12M extra might enable GM Sandy Alderson to at least shop at the big league equivalent of Kohl’s or Target instead of Five Below for additions to the roster. The problem is that the Wilpons may be too tempted to just hold on to that money and not reinvest it in the roster
So what do you think? Does this idea have merit? Or should the Mets hold on to Bay for one more year and hope for the best, trade him for another problem contract or just cut him and eat his entire salary? Sound off below.


Ollie’s Best Chance

Oliver Perez was, unsurprisingly, unimpressive in his latest spring training outing, allowing three earned runs on four hits and two walks in three innings. His velocity “jumped” to the 84-88 MPH range, which is still much too slow for someone who has neither command nor savvy.

At this point, Perez has been eliminated from the starting rotation competition, and he’s unlikely to have much chance of earning a long relief or middle relief role. His best chance to make the 25-man roster is


Ollie: A Year Ago

Oliver Perez’s spring training debut was far from inspiring. According to reports, he never broke 84 MPH, his command was terrible, and he allowed four earned runs in two innings of work.

I had the game on the radio while in the car with my wife and when Ollie’s name was mentioned, Amy said, “why is he still on the team? I can understand giving people a second chance, but not four or five.”

I explained that the Mets gave him a crapload of money, and they were still holding out hope that he could earn some of it in the last year of his contract. Her response: “But if he wasn’t on the team, they’d be better, and if they were better, they might sell more tickets — so how does the money matter?”

I couldn’t argue.

Anyway, when we returned home I was in a nostalgic mood and decided to check out some posts from last February. With Ollie making his first appearance, I thought it fitting to re-hash a post I came across that quoted Sandy Koufax. It was the annual “Koufax PR Day”, when the legendary hurler worked with Mets pitchers in front of the cameras, and the “hope springs eternal” articles ran out as a result. Koufax’s instruction, it was hoped, would somehow turn pitchers such as John Maine and Oliver Perez into capable MLBers. I disagreed with some of Sandy’s statements, and didn’t think Maine or Perez would learn much from him.

As long as we’re being nostalgic, there were two other posts from last spring about Perez: a scathing analysis of one of his appearances in early March, another scathing analysis a few weeks later, and yet another scathing analysis a few days after that. Check those out and compare them to what’s going on with Ollie right now. As they say, “what a non-difference a year makes” … er, or something.

By the way, according to Andy Martino, Dan Warthen is giving Ollie until March 10th to prove he can be a starter. That’s not much time for Mr. Hyde. I’m not sure what exactly that means … if he’s not considered for the rotation, does that mean he’ll be cut, or he’ll get a shot at the bullpen? I guess we’ll find out in about 10 days.


What If Luis Castillo Wins 2B Job?

After a long delay, Luis Castillo finally arrived on time in Port St. Lucie.

I know many people are miffed that Castillo didn’t get to camp a week ago, but he had a legitimate reason — his brother is going in for serious surgery next week. Even if he didn’t have a personal matter to tend to, I’m not sure that an early arrival would have made a difference one way or the other in regard to his chances of making the team nor in the way he is viewed by the new Mets management (the on-field and front office staffs included).

Yes, it would have been nice if Castillo showed up around the same time as the pitchers and catchers. But really, at this point, how would it have mattered? He’s been in pro ball for 15 years, and by now should have a good idea of what he needs to do to get ready for a 162-game season. You could say that by arriving early, Castillo would have “sent a message” that he’s “serious” about having a comeback season. But in all honesty, is that really what you want? Be careful what you wish for, the saying goes.

Let’s pretend Castillo had


2010 Analysis: John Maine

When I first put together my list of players for whom to write evaluations, John Maine didn’t appear on the Mets’ 40-man roster, and as a result, I completely forgot about him.

That pretty much sums up Maine’s 2010 season: forgettable.

Going into spring training, Maine and Oliver Perez were supposed to be the lynchpins in the middle of the Mets’ starting rotation. Both pitched ineffectively, became injured, lost significant velocity, and as a result, couldn’t be removed from the team fast enough.

Maine has always had issues with command, mainly due to a mechanical flaw in his pitching motion. Interestingly, that flaw is part of the reason for his short run of success – his delivery is as such that he can only hit one part of the strike zone consistently: up and in to right-handed batters / up and away to left-handed batters. A pitcher can find moderate success throwing to that spot with 95+ MPH heat, which is what Maine did from mid-2006 through mid-2007. Unfortunately, a pitcher eventually needs to have a more rounded strategy and command of other pitches in order to succeed over the long term. Also unfortunately, those mechanics that produced the velocity and location that made Maine successful, also were a tremendous strain on his shoulder muscles. Eventually, the shoulder was going to break down, and it did. Maine underwent surgery, and returned with the same mechanics, same location, but a fastball that struggled to reach 90 MPH.

2011 Projection

John Maine is eligible for arbitration, and if he goes through with it, he will earn at least $2.6M in 2011 (80% of his 2010 salary). Remarkably, the chance of his salary reducing as a result of arbitration is almost nil – the system is rigged so reductions rarely occur. Because of that, there is almost no chance whatsoever that the Mets offer him arbitration; his best chance at remaining an employee of the Mets is if they non-tender him (effectively releasing him) and then re-sign him on a minor-league deal. If that’s what happens, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world – the Mets have, after all, invested in his physical rehabilitation the last two years, so it would be nice to get some payback in the event Maine does find a way to be a moderately effective MLB pitcher again. However, there’s a slim chance of that happening if he doesn’t regain the 95-MPH fastball.

Click here to read the 2009 Analysis of John Maine


Mets Game 162: Loss to Nationals

Nationals 2 Mets 1

Finally, it’s over.

Meaning, the game — which lasted 14 wretched frames — the season, and the Omar Minaya / Jerry Manuel regime.

Fittingly, Oliver Perez was the losing pitcher, coming into the game in the top of the fourteenth. He struck out the first batter he faced with a sizzling 87-MPH fastball, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd small gathering of fans still at the ballpark. He proceeded to hit the next batter, then walked the next three to force in what was ultimately the winning run.

Game Notes

Mike Pelfrey pitched OK, not awesomely. His stat line was very good: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 ER. However, the Nationals were very bad, killing potential rallies with a combination of poor pitch selection, baserunning mistakes, and lack of hustle. Pelfrey’s command was off and his slider was flat, as he once again fell into the habit of hunching over at the leg lift, which in turn caused his body to fall a little too much toward first base at the release point, which in turn causes the hand / arm to go a just a bit horizontal and not enough vertical. But perhaps the otherwise strong outing will give big Pelf a boost of confidence going into the offseason.

In fairness to Ollie — if that’s even plausible — Perez had not pitched in a game since a two-inning stint against the St. Louis Browns in 1911. To expect him to do better than he did would have been wishful thinking. And again, I ask: why the heck did the Mets have only 33 players on their roster in September? Where was Chad Cordero, Michael O’Connor, Roy Merritt, Josh Stinson, or ANYONE from the minors — particularly after K-Rod was arrested, and Johan Santana, Jenrry Mejia, and Bobby Parnell were shut down. Perhaps the issue was this: the Mets do not have any pitching prospects that were worthy of a September call-up, other than Dillon Gee — which is pretty scary for the future.

David Wright and Jose Reyes were taken out as part of a double-switch during the top of the ninth — the intention was to give the fans an ovation to them both. However, much of the sparse crowd had no idea what was happening, and in the end, their absence might have prevented the Mets from winning 80 games.

During the postgame, Jerry Manuel mentioned a number of players as “foundation pieces” that were not named Reyes nor Wright. Stunning, but a glaring reason why this regime (Manuel AND Minaya) is clueless — they truly believe that the complementary pieces that were assembled around the “core” in 2010 (including the youngsters) are better than average MLBers. This team needs a full overhaul and at least 3-4 more players that are at, near, or above Reyes and Wright in terms of performance if they are to see the postseason again.

Next Mets Game

The Mets open the 2011 season on April 1st in Florida — no fooling.