There was so much to digest between the press conference and the half-dozen or so interviews with the Wilpons on Monday. But after everything was all said and done, one thing Jeff Wilpon said really struck me as odd, and even 24 hours later, I can’t seem to shake it and I still find myself going back to it.
For weeks and even months, many of us including myself were confused and even angry about why Oliver Perez was allowed to remain on the team and waste a roster spot as a useless reliever that even Jerry Manuel was unwilling to use.
How could the Wilpons allow this Oliver Perez situation to go on?
Why are they letting this cancer demoralize our team?
Contrary to what so many of us thought, when the subject of Oliver Perez was raised by one of the beat writers, Jeff Wilpon said that Omar Minaya never once asked for permission to cut Perez or Castillo. “Not once.”
“There was never a time where there was a suggestion where they said, ‘Get rid of so-and-so and eat the contract.’ If that had been brought up, we would have taken it under advisement and spoken about it with. But that was never brought to us.”
Huh? What did he just say?
Look back at just some of the controversy surrounding Oliver Perez in the past two seasons:
- All the times he was asked to go to the minors so he could improve his command and didn’t.
- The two times he was placed on the DL under less-than transparent situations igniting an MLB investigation into the suspicious knee injuries.
- Showing up at the start of his first season under his new contract in what Dan Warthen called, “disappointing shape and terrible conditioning”.
- Refusing to go with his teammates to visit the wounded at Walter Reed later saying he doesn’t have to comment on non-baseball issues.
Perez was booed so loudly when he took the loss in the season-finale, that you would have sworn it was a sold out crowd instead of the scant ten-thousand who were still on hand.
Today, Jeff Wilpon appeared on WFAN and again repeated the claim that he was never approached by Omar Minaya regarding Oliver Perez, and mockingly said,
“Anybody who thinks I’m the general manager, do you think I really would go out and sign Oliver Perez?”
Wow… So if this is true and we take Jeff at his word, then I must ask, how could Omar Minaya allow Perez to undermine the team by wasting a roster spot that could have gone to a player that could have helped the team?
Remember… that at the All Star Break, the Mets were only two games out and still very much in it.
The collapse that would ensue could have been avoided if Minaya had not allowed the Mets to compete one player short from July 21st on. That was the day they chose to activate Perez from the DL.
For nearly two months while the team was suffocating and flailing and could have used an extra bat or arm, Oliver Perez would sit – arms folded in the back of the bullpen – and collect his $12 million dollar paycheck, the third highest paid player on the team. It’s hard to imagine any other team operating in this manner.
Yesterday, I had a little sympathy for Omar Minaya for losing his job the way he did…
However, what sympathy I had has now been replaced with a resentment for how he stood idly by and didn’t even try to get Perez ousted from this team.
He stood on the sidelines and not only did he not get the Mets some much needed help at the trade deadline, he allowed Jerry Manuel and his team to essentially play the season out with a 24 man roster, putting the Mets at a competitive disadvantage for the last 75 games of the season.
Good riddance Omar.