Monday, August 24

Looking Good Oliver! Feeling Good Omar!

It does not bother me that the Mets have one of the highest payrolls in baseball yet find themselves out of the playoff picture. Nor does it grind at me that the Mets have taken a beating in the press and in the blogosphere despite losing 3 of their top 4 offensive bats in the lineup and added the 4th when David Wright got beaned in the head. I can handle the fact that the Phillies dug up Pedro and he waltzed into Citi Field and won yesterday. I can even stomach the unassisted triple play by Eric Bruntlett who had made two errors on the previous batters to get the tying run on first and only made the triple play because he was covering second because the runners were in motion. I accept that it is only the second unassisted triple play in Major League history to end a game.

After all I am a Mets fan and while I was born in time to witness the 1986 Championship, what has followed can only be described as exercises in futility sprinkled in with a few good seasons that ultimately came up short. If you are going to be a Mets fan and not jump ship and take the easy way out and root for the Yankees, your stomach builds up a titanium lining to become immune to such acts of atrociously vile fortune. There is, however one aspect of the Mets' season that I fine too much to bare, and that is Oliver Perez.

I do my best to stray into individualized player bashing, but today I will allow myself an exception. Perez has never been a consistent pitcher, but he did have a fantastic start in game 7 of the 2006 NLCS but the Mets lost that game due to a superior performance by Cardinals pitching. Last year Perez went 10-7 with a 4.22 ERA. Before this season started, the Mets needed starting pitching after shoring up the bullpen with K-Rod who has been good this year and J.J. Putz who is now injured as well. Omar Minaya turned to Perez, who had been decent but nothing special. Not only did Minaya turn a blind eye to possible health problems with Perez but he allowed the market to drive up his price tag. In the end, the Mets gave Perez a 3-year, $36 million dollar contract. Everyone was up in arms about the contract; the media, the fans, and even the statisticians. Is it hard to believe that Perez is a Scott Boras client? There are some who say Boras is good for baseball, especially when it comes to negotiating contracts for players in the amateur draft, but when he gets this kind of money for this kind of player in my mind it puts him more toward Bernie Madoff than Curt Flood.

Predictably Perez started out awful this season. The Mets blamed the problem on a knee injury and placed him on the DL where he would soon be joined by a host of Met players as the season began to fade away. He came back in July and actually got a win against the Dodgers, going 5 innings and giving up 3 runs. He has not gone over 6.1 innings since he came back, maybe this is to protect his injury or maybe because he is incapable. His last three starts were two no decisions where he only gave up 1 run and had 7 Ks in each and a win against Atlanta where he gave up 4 runs in 5 innings but still got the win. That brought us to yesterday where he gave up a two 3-run home runs to Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz, who was 0 for his last 23 against the Mets. All this leads to a $12 season which has yielded a 3-4 record with 66 innings pitched, a 6.82 ERA, and a 1.92 WHIP. In these economical times it is great to see someone is still able to get fast money. If one thing is true among the increased media coverage, increased criticism and delving into the lives of athletes it is that they are certainly well-compensated for it. So while the Mets flounder this season and will no doubt make some absurd offseason move and produce another ridiculous contract to attempt to keep up, Perez can laugh all the way to bank.

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