What Can The Mets Do With Ollie?

Coming into Spring Training there was a lot of positive buzz on Oliver Perez.  Besides new facial hair he had been working out in Arizona for months getting in shape and trying to work on his pitches.  Perez arrived in excellent shape, a complete 180 from the year before.  People who follow the team on a daily basis said that Ollie was more focused and ready to earn his 36 million dollar contract.  Then came the exhibition games and they were not pretty.  Ollie did throw strikes but unfortunately those strikes were very hittable and would often go out of the park.  A slimmer Ollie, with new facial hair on a regular basis produced the same results.  We all hoped that this was just Spring Training and once the regular season started Ollie would turn around and produce the way a pitcher who makes 12 million dollars a year ought to produce.

Unfortunately inconsistent Ollie started the season.  In Ollie’s first start of the season he lasted just 5.2 innings, allowed 4 hits, 4 walks and 4 runs and posted an ERA of 6.35.  In Ollie’s second start looked a lot better and a bit promising as he dominated the Cardinals, including Albert Pujols.  His 3rd start saw go 5 innings, allowing 8 hits with just 2 runs.  In his 4th start against the Dodgers he couldn’t make it out of the 3rd inning, had a decent start against the Reds and of course once again on Sunday he walked 7 guys, throwing almost 100 pitches by the 3rd inning before he was taken out of the game.  This is not the start Ollie needed and the Mets deserve from their 36 million dollar man.

The Mets yesterday according to Adam Rubin plan to allow Ollie to start Friday.  I know as of yet nobody has said this but I have to believe this is a make or break start for Ollie.  There is only so much the Mets can really take from him.  Unfortunately the length and salary of his contract poses a problem for the Mets.  What exactly can the Mets do if Ollie continues to struggle?

  • Cut Him?  This would be what most Mets fans would say.  I think I speak for most of us when I say we are tired of waiting for his “potential” to kick in.  He’s not a young man no more, he’s 28 years old, he’s been in the majors for 8 years, and he is a veteran pitcher.  However, the Mets do not like to eat salaries and Ollie is owed 24 million dollars for the next 2 years.  This option would also hurt Omar Minaya whose job is in question.  If Omar has to cut Ollie Perez from this team, he would have wasted a lot of the Wilpon’s money and we all know how the Wilpon’s feel about that.
  • Assign To The Bullpen? The Mets briefly tried this last year before Ollie developed a knee injury that would cost him the season.  I honestly think this would not help much.  Ollie is a head-case on his best days.  If he has any confidence left a demotion to the pen would shatter it.  I honestly don’t think this would help either Ollie or the Mets.  I know I wouldn’t trust Perez in close situations and the only time I want to see Ollie come out is in a mop-up role.  Once again do you really think the Mets are going to allow a guy making 24 million for the next 2 years doing just mop-up jobs?
  • A Minor League Assignment?  I think this could be the best option for both parties.  Ollie could go down, work on his pitches, work with the coaching staff to get his game back on track.  The Mets would have to explain this is not a permanent demotion to the minors, just a way to help him improve his game.  It has worked in the past for other players.  Unfortunately Ollie didn’t like this option last year as when the team was exploring this option instead of being a man and going to Omar and management to talk about his reluctance to go down to the minors he called up his agent and manager who told the Mets Perez would not accept a minor league demotion.  That right there showed me what kind of player he is.

The Mets are in a bad situation with Ollie.  There are not a lot of options but they are stuck with him for this season and for 2011.  He makes too much money, which is on Omar Minaya.  He panicked last year and gave into Boras and Perez.  Hopefully Ollie has grown up a bit from last year and if the Mets ask him to take a minor league assignment he will, otherwise we are in for a long 2 years with Ollie Perez.