To quote former President Gerald R. Ford, “Our long national nightmare is over.” For the nation at that time that meant the end of Richard Nixon’s presidency (incidentally, Ford actually objected to that now-iconic line, but his speechwriters insisted that he leave it in). For Mets fans now, it means Oliver Perez will never be seen in a Mets uniform again. The Mets finally did the inevitable on Monday, releasing Perez and eating the $12 million remaining on his contract.
“The velocity was not there. The command was not there,” GM Sandy Alderson said. “It wasn’t going to work in a starting role. It didn’t appear as if it were going to work in a relief role, at least anytime soon.”
Speaking about both Perez (left, watching Julia Stiles, who is a far superior pitcher than Perez) and the recently departed Luis Castillo (who signed a minor league deal with the Phillies on Monday. Ha ha ha…) Alderson said:
“For a variety of reasons it was important to have them in camp. To start with, I didn’t want to do anything rash or reflexive given what I had heard about the situation here. And so I think it was important to bring them to camp, and then once brought to camp give them a legitimate opportunity. I think in both cases we tried to do that.”
At least Perez was realistic, unlike Castillo who felt he wasn’t given a fair chance.
“I think they gave me an opportunity,” Perez said. “They were fair with me when I came here. ‘We’re going to give you an opportunity to be a starter.’ I didn’t do anything great. They moved me to the bullpen trying to be a lefty specialist. And the last game, that was a real horrible job.”
So what did the Mets get out of Perez for $36 million?: A record of 3-9 with a 6.81 ERA in 31 appearances, 21 of which were starts. Not a good investment by Omar Minaya on behalf of the Wilpons, who have learned a thing or two recently about bad investments (insert Madoff joke here).
Too bad we can’t send Perez off like we did Nixon — it would be interesting to see Perez recreate that strange, awkward wave from the helicopter steps.