In a new column by Buster Olney of ESPN, Oliver Perez tops his list of key number two starters for 2010. he explains why, but not before taking a shot at the Mets spendthrift ways.
The expectation within the Mets’ organization is that the team has finished its winter spending, and this would seem to be confirmed by their reluctance to entertain an offer from catcher Yorvit Torrealba to play for the Mets on a one-year deal. Torrealba has a one-year offer from the Padres, but would rather play for the Mets — but the Mets apparently have turned off the faucet.
I am in agreement with one of the things that Olney points out regarding Perez, and that is how Perez has always been able to bounce back from a bad year.
Perez, of course, was arguably the worst dollar-for-production pitcher in the majors last year, posting a 6.82 ERA, walking 58 in 66 innings, in the first year of a three-year, $36 million deal. But he has zigged and zagged in his career before. After going 12-10 with a 2.99 ERA in 2004, with 239 strikeouts in 196 innings, he collapsed to a 6.55 ERA in 2006, and then rebounded to go 15-10 with a 3.56 ERA in 2007.
The Mets’ mantra all offseason has been that they must improve the rotation. They emphasized that goal right from the start and alluded to it many times throughout the winter. Sadly, nothing ever came of it and it turned out to be nothing but lip service.
The Mets will head to Opening Day with the same five pitchers they expected to do battle with last Opening Day. Only this time, four out of the five returning starters have lingering health issues. Olney concludes, by noting that the Mets need a strong No. 2 performance behind Santana, and that seemingly must come from Perez, who is the one other starter that the Mets have who is capable of consistently missing bats. He’s right. When Perez is on, his stuff is absolutely electrifying. In fact, up until last season, many a scout would have agreed that when Oliver Perez has his “A” game working, he has no-hitter stuff. It’s too bad that he’s also maddeningly inconsistent.