The Mets' starting rotation looks as thin as the Royals' postseason chances right now. So why on Earth should the Mets send down one of their more talented pitchers that they just handed millions of dollars to this offseason?
Because he deserves it.
Perez had an awful spring that went noticed by Mexican fans and Mets fans alike. His velocity was down, and he was publicly criticized by pitching coach Dan Warthen, who wondered out loud if Perez came into camp out of shape. And he’s coming off a mega-deal that few felt he deserved.
Burdened by those expectations and the inconsistency that has plagued him throughout his Mets tenure, Perez looks worse than ever in orange and blue. In typical Ollie fashion, he blasted through the first two innings in Cincinnati.
Then he proceeded to unravel, walking five and being tagged with eight earned runs. So much for turning the page on a horrid spring.
The truth is, there is no permanent resolution for the difficulties that have defined Perez’s career. He is what he is. And the Mets have to swallow that for another three years.
However, there is a way to minimize the self-destruction and maximize the dominance. And it starts with booting him down (technically, up) to Triple-A Buffalo.
Patience is at a premium with Perez. During one of the most joyous events in Mets history this past Monday night, boos were prominently heard when Perez’s name was announced as part of the pregame festivities.
Hell, even Luis Castillo received a majority of cheers. Doesn't that say something about Perez?
For those that think things can only go up with Perez, they are wrong. It can still get much worse. It’s evident he is fighting himself right now; trying to increase his velocity, repair his issues with control, and prove to be consistent for an elongated period of time.
Is it realistic to attain those three goals right now? Absolutely not. The truth is, he is going to have to persevere through this time in order to maximize his success during the course of the season. And he is going to have to do it without New York’s microscope that will be locked in on him as long as he is in the big leagues.
Send him to Buffalo, and dastardly performances such as the one against Cincinnati will be pardoned. He will be permitted to review his performance without the media down his throat, and improve on the mistakes he made in the seclusion of a small-market.
Despite clear and valid reasoning to send Perez down to the minors, the Mets will be hard pressed to make such a move. The only trustworthy starter in the Mets' rotation right now is Johan Santana, and while Perez has been dreadful, he does have a history that instills some semblance of confidence.
If the Mets send Perez down, they will not have that same confidence in Perez’s replacement, which would likely be promising, and raw, prospect Jonathon Niese.
But it’s a long season, and Perez could be heading down a road that could destroy his 2009 campaign, and without any fixing, his Mets career.