I know that a lot of you were convinced that the Mets should not bring back Oliver Perez. I certainly had a lot of fun debating that with you on this blog over the last few months.
Toward the end, as the free agent pool became murkier and the pickings became slim, many of us agreed that Oliver Perez had become the best option left to sign, but clearly you were disappointed that we didn’t make a bigger play for Lowe, Burnett or heaven forbid C.C. Sabathia.
Here is some news that may help make Oliver Perez more palatable to some of you. And to those of you who have always been on the Oliver Perez bandwagon, here is a small reward for your never-ending love of Oliver Perez.
Joel Sherman of the NY Post writes,
Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen told me that over the final two months of last season into this spring training camp that Santana has taken on Oliver Perez as a “special project.” According to Warthen, Santana is a tremendous asset in the continuing efforts to get Perez to a) concentrate consistently and b) deliver each pitch with conviction, purpose and accuracy. If you were able to transplant Santana’s seriousness/pitching intellect into Perez you would have a version of Steve Carlton Lite.
“Maybe for the first time in Ollie’s life he’s ready to listen and Johan is there to help,” Warthen said. The Met pitching coach said that Santana’s stature and ability to speak to Perez in Spanish help deliver messages that Warthen might have difficulty getting Perez to fully comprehend. “We are mainly talking pitching theory and philosophy, and I think it means something coming from Johan Santana,” Warthen said.
I always said that the Mets would be foolish to let Oliver Perez go because when I considered his youthfulness, his experience, and the quality and caliber of his pitches. he was just an inch away from becoming one of the best in the league. The kid with the electrifying stuff just needed to go through the maturation process.
With baseball’s best pitcher Johan Santana clearly on board to help Perez work out the kinks, it may just be the metamorphosis we have all been waiting for. It clearly can’t hurt.
Usually, when you dole out tens of millions of dollars on a free agent pitcher, you don’t proclaim that he is going to be your special project, but in this case it just might be the saving grace we’re looking for in the rotation.