The old Mets’ brass might have told Oliver Perez to go warm up in the bullpen. The new regime simply told him to go away.
The team released the embattled left-hander and will pay him the remaining $12 million on a three-year $36 million deal he signed in 2009. Perez went just 3-9 with a 6.81 ERA in the first two years of the contract.
“When they told me, I almost knew they were going to tell me,” Perez said.
General manager Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins told the 29-year-old what ex-GM Omar Minaya never could.
“I think it was additional evidence that from his standpoint the velocity was not there, the command was not there,” Alderson said after watching Perez’s 8.38 ERA this spring. “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 any time soon.”
The move signals the start of a larger overhaul. And after years frozen in mediocrity, that may be the biggest victory Mets fans can ask for at this point.
Life’s a pitch
The Mets have certainly overpaid for pitchers recently. Here are some of their worst deals:
1 Oliver Perez — The lefty earned three wins for $36 million. This contract defines the Omar Minaya era.
2 Pedro Martinez — The three-time Cy Young Award winner averaged only 90 innings the last three seasons but still walked away with $52 million.
3 Pedro Astacio — Posted a weak 5.20 ERA for $11 million from 2002-03.
4 Shawn Estes — The ex-Giant spent one forgettable season in Queens, going 4-9 with a 4.55 ERA for $6.2 million.
Ex-Met Castillo finds a new home with Phillies
Mets’ management can still spend money. Only this time it’s to undo the disasters of Omar Minaya, not pile on top of them.
The team has eaten $18 million the last few days, releasing a couple of rebuilding projects in Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez. Castillo, the second baseman who hit .235 in his fourth and final season with the Mets in 2010, has already found a new team. The 35-year-old signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies yesterday.
“[We] gave them a legitimate opportunity,” Mets GM Sandy Alderson said of the pair. “I think in both cases we tried to do that.”