A couple of weeks ago, before accepting a demotion to the bullpen, it was reported that Oliver Perez refused a minor league assignment so he can sort things out with his pitching problems.
This morning, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that Oliver Perez has again refused a minor league assignment from the Mets.
Perez’s contract gives him that right, but after his latest implosion on the mound as a reliever, pressure is mounting for the Mets to just outright release him and eat the remaining $20 million on his contract.
Jerry Manuel was clearly frustrated by his presence on the team and was reluctant to say how he will ever use Perez out of the bullpen again.
That’s really a tough question,” Manuel said. “[Maybe] extra innings or something like that, but it’s going to be tough to find spots for him.”
According to Puma, Perez is not wanted by his teammates, and he quoted two of them who said,
“You tell him you go to Triple-A or that’s it, you are finished,” one Mets player said, well aware that Perez is still owed about $20 million on the three-year contract he signed before the 2009 season.
A second Mets player echoed that line of thinking.
“At some point you have to cut bait,” he said. “You owe him a lot of money, but for what?”
Puma says that the Mets have not had any discussion regarding just cutting Perez outright, but in my opinion that will change soon.
His presence on the team only serves to put the Mets in the awkward position of playing with a 24 man roster instead of 25 like their competition. It also places undue stress on an already overworked bullpen that could use another fresh and reliable arm. Ollie’s teammates know this, and some of them are beginning to show outward signs of resentment toward him, rightfully so.
If the Mets don’t diffuse this problem soon, it could end eventually blow up in their faces and lead to another public relations nightmare that could have been avoided. Once the players begin to vent to the media about a teammate, action must be taken. All eyes are watching now.