Yesterday the Mets finally did something about Oliver Perez. They did not send him to the minors, nor did they put him on the disabled list after Ollie announced Sunday that his knee has been “injured” since the start of the season. Instead Fred Wilpon and Omar Minaya flew down to Atlanta and decided along with Jerry Manuel to move Ollie to the bullpen. His role will be that of a long reliever as well as mop up guy. The fact that Oliver Perez in the off season signed a contract worth 36 million dollars for three years and is now going to pitch out of the pen has to be eating the Wilpons up inside. The Mets gave him this contract knowing that he was as inconsistent as you could get but they believed that Oliver was growing up and could be fixed.
This season Ollie’s inconsistency is gone. Good Ollie and bad Ollie is gone. Unfortunately for the Mets bad Ollie won the battle and his been consistently horrible in this short season. In 5 games his ERA is 9.97 and has pitched only 21.2 innings which averages roughly about 4.2 innings per game. For the kind of money he is being paid that is unacceptable. Ollie has become a liability to the team and something had to be done. The question was what would be best for the Mets and Oliver Perez? The Mets’ answer was to assign Ollie to the bullpen.
Some people, including myself were hoping for a minor league assignment. For Ollie to be assigned to the minors the decision had to be mutual. Oliver it is said, did not want to go down the minors so the Mets decided to place him in the pen. This was I believe a tough decision for all involved. Ollie’s psyche is fragile already, a trip down to the minors could permanently set him back and the Mets have too much invested in him to allow that at this early junction to occur. Also in the minors Ollie would be working with a different coaching staff. The Mets want him to work with Dan Warthen and Jerry Manuel.
Unfortunately Ollie cannot be trusted to come out of the pen in a tightly contested game and pitch for us, so when exactly will Ollie be getting his work in? The answer to that question is when our starters get beat up in a game pretty badly. I just don’t believe that this was the right course of action. The Mets needed to sit down with Ollie, tell him that right now he’s hurting the team and is only getting worse. The Mets needed Ollie to admit that there is a problem and to accept a minor league assignment. That did not happen which brings up what’s next for Ollie if this demotion to the bullpen results in failure?
The Mets have invested a lot of money, he’s with the team for the next 2 seaosns. If the bullpen assignment fails how does this help Ollie’s fragile pysche? If the assignment to the pen fails and Ollie refuses a minor league demotion where do the Mets go from there? Do they put Ollie on the DL permentaly much like the Tigers did to Dontrelle Willis?
I cannot see how this Oliver Perez debacle can end in a good way for the Mets or Oliver Perez. Will this cost Omar his job? Will the Wilpons eat Ollie’s contract if all attempts at fixing him fail? Will the Mets admit that signing Ollie this off season was a terrible mistake? I don’t have any answers but I hope that the Wilpons and Omar do have answers, otherwise we’re in for a long 3 years.