It has been reported that Oliver Perez is headed to the New York Mets bullpen.
According to Manager Jerry Manuel, he experienced the same thing with two starters when he was manager of the Chicago White Sox—James Baldwin and Jon Garland.
I guess what Jerry means is that those two pitchers had the unique ability to hit the sweet spot of the bat very solidly with their thrown baseball, while mixing in a few free passes to the tune of one per inning. Ollie is very good at that.
Manuel said both of the situations worked themselves out. And you know what? Manuel is correct.
In 1998, Baldwin was a 26-year-old starting pitcher in his third big league season. In his first seven starts that season, Baldwin was 2-3, with a 7.57 ERA., with awful peripheral numbers—35.2 IP, 46 H, 30 ER, 22 BB's (1 HBP), 27 K's and a WHIP of 2.00.
After heading to the bullpen after his last start on May 2nd, Baldwin further imploded. He made 13 appearances covering 21.2 IP, 25 ER, 9 BB, 12 K's, with his ERA rising to 9.06 on June 7th.
However, when returned to the starting rotation on June 20th, Baldwin made 17 starts, going 11-3 with a 3.47 ERA. His starter numbers were much better the second time around.
In 2001, Garland was a 21 year old former first-round pick in his second major league season. He was brought up in early May, made three starts, going 1-2 with a 10.00 ERA. He averaged three innings per start, allowing 18 hits, 17 R, 10 ER, 6 BB and only 3 K's.
What the disparity between runs and earned runs tells me is that Garland let innings get out of hand after a mistake by his defense. Never a good sign for a pitcher.
Garland went to Manuel's bullpen on May 17th and made 19 relief appearances. In relief, Garland threw 34.1 innings, allowing 25 H, 11 ER, 17 BB's and 20 K's while recording a 2.90 ERA.
After improving his pitching, Garland went back to the rotation on July 31st. He made 13 more starts, going 2-3 with a 3.34 ERA. He has been an effective starting pitcher ever since.
Demotions for Manuel worked when Baldwin and Garland struggled as a starter, but I am fully of the belief that both of those guys have more between the ears than Perez does.
Interesting point by GM Omar Minaya today who told reporters that the Mets never actually asked Perez to go to the minors. Why then did Ollie say on Saturday he would agree to be sent down, then change his mind a day later?
Does the New York media have that much influence? Smells more like agent influence.
As I thought, agent Scott Boras intervened and "suggested" to the Mets that Ollie will not agree to a demotion to the minors. Perez has his money now ($36 million) and can you actually see him riding buses for Triple A Buffalo or AA Binghamton? No way.
He doesn't need to agree to anything the Mets say, and can really Carl Pavano-ize the entire situation by going to the bullpen and throwing in a game once a week.
What Boras probably told the Mets is that Perez will agree to a demotion, but they want some compensation. Boras does nothing out of the norm with his clients, but always requests consideration - ie: money.
I always thought that re-signing Perez was terrible because his inability to throw strikes and the fact that he is a moron. Minaya had to sign Perez because of the lack of pitching available in the Mets organization. Also, Boras had to put a huge book together extolling the virtues of the left handed Perez. Why? Because Oliver's pitching couldn't speak for itself.
It is reported that 40 year old rookie Ken Takahashi will make Perez' next start, and the Mets hope Tim Redding is available to throw soon.
Takahashi? Redding? Livan Hernandez? Nelson Figueroa? Is that what the Mets are going with?
Omar Minaya might be the worst GM in baseball history, even going back to his Montreal days by ruining farm systems to trade for veterans. You need to save face Omar and let one of the kids like Dillon Gee, Jonathan Niese or Michael Antonini throw. But the Mets won't do that and will eventually trade for another teams starter. Without a home grown immediate option waiting in the wings, Minaya has failed yet again.
Omar needs to build for the future with a strong core instead of trying to win with band aids such as Redding, Figueroa and Takahashi. He improved the Mets last season by bringing up youngsters Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans.
But there is pressure on Omar to win this year, and he is not going to allow young pitchers to try and fix his mistakes—including the re-signing of Oliver Perez.