Never let it be said that Oliver Perez doesn’t dream big. Not content with sitting in the bullpen collecting dust and his $12 million, Perez has asked to be given the chance to crack the Mets rotation. And the Mets said yeah, sure, why not.
Perez Met with manager Terry Collins and GM Sandy Alderson in Port St. Lucie on Monday to talk about the plan for Perez during spring training.
“We talked about where did he feel he could help us most,” Collins said. “He’s raring to go. He said he feels great and is determined to put the last couple of years away. He said, ‘I want a chance to make this club as a starting pitcher.’ I said, ‘You’ll get that opportunity. If it’s not working we’ll talk about it as we get into camp and we can always make the switch.'”
Collin said he told Perez (left, in a familiar scene — being taken out of a game) that “maybe you need a fresh start.”
“I mean, I have all the numbers. I’ve heard all the stories. Now I’m going to make my own evaluation,” Collins said. “No disrespect to anyone else and what I’ve heard about him. I believe that they’re all good baseball people. But, you know what? People do change sometimes. Ollie, he pitched winter ball when he didn’t have to. This guy has got 11, 12 years in the big leagues (actually, it’s nine) and pitched winter ball. He didn’t have to do that. He wants to find it. He wants to regain what he was. And I salute that.”
The Mets really have nothing to lose here. They have to pay him anyway, so why not give him a shot? Maybe Perez will shock us all. It is his contract year, after all. If he ever wants to sign another one, he’ll have to have a good season. Players sometimes perform above their ability in their walk year (see Beltre, Adrian). Perhaps the Mets can finally recoup some of their $36 million investment.
If not, they can just cut him loose. Either way, Mets fans win.