I was ready to accept the fact that Omar Minaya made a really horrible decision when he re-signed Oliver Perez last year to a 3-year deal worth $36 million. I was a Perez fan back in the 2006 playoffs, especially when he did a commendable job starting Game 7 of the NLCS. Of course, since then Ollie has battled injuries and inconsistency, mostly the latter. And he was really pretty bad last season, ultimately finishing 3-4 with a 6.82 ERA.
But inside Ollie there has always been a caged lion waiting to bust out of that cage. The dude usually hovers around the 1 strikeout per inning mark, and even last season had 62 K’s in 66 innings. His problem, along with those noted above, is the fact that he walks a small army. Perez led the NL in 2008 with 105 walks, which is almost 5 per game. You can’t do that and hope to have any consistency in the big leagues, period.
Well now that Ollie is past his knee injury and ready to face a new season with a clean slate, I ask you all: does Ollie have the potential to reach his potential this year? Or is he going to be a consistent under-achiever? Hey, remember Nolan Ryan was so wild that the Mets wound up trading him and then got burned and reminded of that for more than 20 years. Ollie, of course, is more like a cross between Sid Fernandez and Steve Trachsel, but you have to believe Minaya is hoping and praying that Ollie will earn some of that scratch this year.
As for me, I am not holding out a ton of hope, but I feel like Ollie just might surprise us in 2010. I’m not sure why, but maybe because I’ve seen him at his best, and I know he’s got it in him if he can control his own wild demons. And if he’s actually decent, it will go a long way toward the Mets being a respectable club, or at least having a respectable rotation.