NY Sports Day

The Mets Should Just Re-sign Perez

It’s not easy following the Mets this winter. It seems like every day the waiting game is being played.

Sure, in one 36 hour period during the Winter Meetings, the team totally revamped the bullpen, but unless Tim Redding excites you, the winter has been a giant yawn.

Perez needs to take his high wire act to Citi Field (Bill Menzel/NYSD)

Perez needs to take his high wire act to Citi Field (Bill Menzel/NYSD)

Continuing with their methodic approach, the Mets are taking their time in signing their No. 2 starter for the year. Do they take back the sometimes brilliant, sometimes erratic Oliver Perez or go with the much older, yet more consistent Derek Lowe?

Although Lowe is a more accomplished pitcher, the Mets should just go out and re-sign the 27 year-old Mexican lefty. Yes, he can be frustrating, but Perez will give more value to the organization as the Mets ride out a three or four year deal.

It’s just simple logic. If the Mets pay Lowe $14 to $15 million a year, they will be rewarding him for past performances rather than future returns. A 36 year-old in June, Lowe will have a natural decline in his production just based on the age factor.

We have seen this before. As Al Leiter progressed into his late 30s, his cutter started stopped tying up batters and caught more of the plate. Tom Glavine pitched OK when he was in Queens, but just wasn’t the same Hall of Famer the Mets expected when they signed him at age 37.

Still not convinced? Then look at the last two seasons, where Pedro Martinez and Billy Wagner lost a year each due to injuries.

Now the Mets want to sign another over-35 pitcher. Sure, Lowe could be the exception the rule and his sinker could keep on dropping until the age of 40. Remember, he is a big man and pitched in relief until the age of 29. But it’s more likely his out pitch with start staying up in the zone, which could cause havoc later in his contract.

Perez is no slam dunk, though, but the slam dunks signed in the Bronx a month ago. Yes, he can he erratic and frustrating at times, as he looks like a world beater one inning and a batting practice pitcher the next. But in the absence of any true aces on the market, Perez is the Mets best bet.

First and foremost, he is a big game player.

Last season, the lefty rose to the occasion versus the Mets biggest rivals. Against the Yankees in 2008, Perez went 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA and in six starts versus the Marlins, he was 3-0 with a 2.23 ERA. Yet his most impressive numbers came in game where the Phillies opposed him. In 26 innings last season, the lefthander allowed one earned run to Philadelphia – a Jayson Werth homer in July. That’s a 0.35 ERA for those scoring at home.

And remember, with a better bullpen, the lefty won’t have to stretch himself out, but rather he can worry about the game in front of him, which will only make him a better pitcher in the long run.

Plus at age 28, there’s a possibility Perez will improve. At the very least, the Mets will be getting what they paid for because he is a pitcher in his prime, and will be a very safe bet for three to four seasons.

So if the Mets want to stay in this sweepstakes just to bid the Braves, Brewers, or Phillies up on Lowe, so be it. But at the end of the day, they need to realize the team’s long term best bet is to re-sign Oliver Perez.


2 Comments

  1. Anthony M

    January 13, 2009 at 9:00 am

    I am undecided between Ollie and D-Lowe. I just wish the Mets would make up their minds and stop trying to play cute games. For once, could the Mets take a page from the Yankees and go out and set the market?! I know it paid off with K-Rod this year and last with Santana, but it also cost them a shot at Vladimir Guerrero a couple of years ago.

    It almost seems as if the Mets don’t know who they prefer – Lowe or Perez. It almost appears the strategy is to lowball them both and see who blinks first – not exactly the best strategy when the Evil One (aka Scott Boras) is involved.

  2. Nick

    January 13, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Ollie is worth it in the long term.. Lowe might be broken down in another 2 years for all we know (with baseball, players can just hit the sh!tter in a matter of 1 offseason, see: Andruw Jones or Pedro Martinez [but to a lesser extent] ). Braves clearly overpaid Lowe and gave him 4 GUARANTEED years; thats pretty ridiculous.. Hes not even worth $15 million per year and the guaranteed 4th year is just a joke. Im glad Omar did not attempt to outbid this (hell I wouldn’t mind 15m per for 2-3 years, but not 4), its just not worth it. Better off banking on a young lefty who has proven he can pitch in NY and if he can limit his walks/erratic-ness (which in turn leads to more innings pitched) he can be dominant. If you really dont want Ollie then there is always Ben Sheets. I would sign him 2 years with a 3rd option, I really am unsure of what kind of $$ he would get or is looking for though.. But considering his past injury issues, i highly doubt he expects to get more than 3 years and over $13m/year.

    Another thing on Sheets is i would consider signing him 3 guaranteed years with a 4th option but with a small salary (under $10m/year) and loads of incentives if he can make 30+ starts each year.

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