Andy Martino of the Daily News reports that Oliver Perez has asked the Mets for permission to play winter ball in Mexico and that the front office is discussing the idea.
The Mets will likely allow Perez to play, a source said, but are looking into the legal ramifications. When a veteran with a long-term contract participates in winter ball, there are liability issues to work out, such as who is responsible in the event of an injury. Ultimately, though, it is a logical decision to have Perez attempt to establish some value this offseason.
“He is really eager to work and come back strong next year,” the source said.
Perez confirmed his desire to play this winter. “I haven’t pitched very much that past two years,” he said (because of a knee injury, Perez contributed only 66 innings in 2008, and has so far thrown just 46 this season). “I want to play, and get stronger again.”
There was some discussion that Perez would get a start in the coming days, but that will not happen and Ollie won’t start again for the Mets this season.
This should be a no-brainer for the Mets and I expect them to let Ollie pitch.
A solid performance in Winter Ball could make Perez more attractive to other teams and help the Mets find a taker for the remainder of his $12 million contract, although the Mets will still have to eat a significant portion of it.
A bad performance may give us a real sign of just how much autonomy the new general manager will actually have.
If Oliver Perez gets released this spring, than things might actually be looking up.
However, if Oliver Perez is still on the 2011 Opening Day roster, it means the Wilpons are still calling the shots and that not much has changed.