On May 17, I made the not-so-bold statement that a little time at AAA Buffalo would do the Mets’ Oliver Perez a load of good. Work on his mechanics, clear his head, build back his confidence, maybe even experience a late spring snowstorm. Most everyone, including the entire Mets organization, seems to have agreed. Everyone of course, except Perez.
Exercising his right as a five-plus year veteran, the erratic and enigmatic lefthander has refused assignment to the minors. Apparently he feels that one or two trips to the mound each week for mop-up duty will help him recapture some semblance of his major league skills — last seen in these parts about two years ago. Maybe he should look to Detroit for some inspiration. Last weekend, Max Schirzer returned from an assignment at AAA and promptly struck out 14 batters in 5 2/3 innings. And last night of course, Armando Galarraga, a 28-year-old with a 21-18 lifetime record who was recalled from the minors on May 16, pitched what should be considered a perfect game, marred only by a horrific call by first base ump Jim Joyce.
Aside from wasting a spot on the Mets roster, Ollie is careening down a slippery slope on ice skates. He has likely done irreparable damage to his career, not to mention his already shaky standing with the Mets. He has no choice but to relent and head to Buffalo with hopes of figuring out how to pitch with a diminished fastball and equally diminished confidence. If he remains steadfast in his desire to chip and whittle his way out of the bullpen, then the Mets should cut their losses and set him free. The $20 million or so they owe through next year won’t go very far if Ollie remains in his current role for the long-term. Free up a roster spot, rid the clubhouse of his negativity and move on. Let him chart a wayward course for his career somewhere else.
If only he knew how nice Buffalo was in June.