|Perez declines minor leagues|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on May 04, 2009
In a move telling about him, Oliver Perez declined assignment to the minor leagues and will instead pitch out of the Mets bullpen or be placed on the DL.
PHILADELPHIA -- The Mets got an unscheduled off day here yesterday due to the rain, but they remain in a fix when it comes to Oliver Perez.
The struggling left-hander's status stayed cloudy after Perez apparently balked at a trip to the minor leagues that the Mets hoped would enable him to salvage a season already gone terribly wrong.
The Mets are set to take Perez's spot in the rotation away after yet another terrible start Saturday, when he allowed four runs on five hits and six walks in a season-low 2 1/3 innings of their eventual 6-5 loss to the Phillies in 10 innings.
The wrench in the Mets' plans is that Perez -- who has a 9.97 ERA to go with his 1-2 record -- must consent to a minor league assignment because he has more than five years of major league service time.
Perez told reporters after Saturday's disaster that he would be willing to accept a stint in the minors to work out his problems.
But the fresh recipient of a three-year, $36 million contract from the Mets backtracked abruptly yesterday.
"I can't say yet," Perez replied when asked if he would go to the minors. Asked why he had appeared to change his mind overnight, Perez said: "I was frustrated [when the Saturday comment was made]. Every pitcher can say that, because that was a tough day for me and I can say anything. Today, I feel a little more relaxed."
Perez, who was demoted by the Pirates in 2006 after a similarly wretched start, also could be headed to the disabled list after revealing he has been bothered by a sore right knee that he aggravated during Saturday's game.
Perhaps Perez doesn't understand the magnitude of what's going on. The Mets only brought him back in the offseason because they were desperate to do something after Derek Lowe spurned their money. They obviously overpaid for an unproven talent, and it would be difficult to find anyone who disagrees with that.
Now, manager Jerry Manuel is fed up with Perez. He gave Perez one more opportunity to make good on his promise, and Perez blew it, allowing 4 runs in 2 1/3 innings to the division-rival Phillies. Manuel doesn't have confidence to hand the ball to Perez, and the sad thing is Perez doesn't realize that.
Pitching out of the bullpen isn't the easy way out of this, Oliver. You're going to get inconsistent work, and you may be coming in with runners on base. For someone who allows walks at an especially high rate, that's a recipe for a disaster.
Considering the way the Mets have faded down the stretch the last two seasons, that isn't something the fans in Queens need. They need Perez to go to the minor leagues and straighten everything out. It worked for Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.
Inconsistent work against the best hitters in the major leagues isn't the quickest way to get back into the rotation. Perez needs to go back down, pitch consistently and regain his mechanics. That's the quickest and most logical way to make it back. But I guess Perez isn't interested in that.