The time has come for the New York Mets to end the Oliver Perez experiment once again.
Perez has not proven himself ready to be a consistent Major League pitcher. He cannot do the one thing pitchers need to be able to do to stay in the Majors: throw strikes.
With 25 walks in 30 innings, Perez’s walks per nine innings is a dismal 7.5. Very few pitchers can survive by giving away that many base on balls and Perez is no exception.
Ollie has six starts this season, and is averaging only five innings per start. While very few starters go more than six or seven innings anymore in this age of overcautious ball clubs who micromanage pitch counts, Perez’s failure to go deep into games has helped wear out an already overtaxed Mets bullpen.
Because Perez both strikes out and walks a lot of batters, his pitch count is always high. In five of his six starts this year, he has thrown more than 90 pitches and only once has he thrown fewer than 75. Despite this, he still can’t throw deep into games because of his wildness.
The Mets are 1-5 in Perez’s six starts this season. While this is not all Ollie’s fault, the fact is that the because of Perez’s inability to find the plate, the Mets give the opposition extra chances to drive in runs and that decreases the Mets chances to win. Let’s face it; good teams are going to take full advantage of these extra opportunities.
I’ve heard the arguments for Perez. He has the best stuff of any Mets starter. Lefties take longer to mature and develop (see Sandy Koufax in Brooklyn). I will cede both points quite readily. But that doesn’t mean the Mets should continue to send Perez to the mound every fifth day. Send Ollie down to AAA Buffalo and let him regain the control and composure he showed back in 2007 when he went 15-10 and only walked four batters per nine innings.
Of course, if the Mets send Ollie down, GM Omar Minaya is practically admitting he made a mistake in re-signing Perez when he came up for free agency prior to the 2009 season. Still, it is better to send Perez down to correct his problems than have him pitch poorly each time he takes the mound for the Mets.
The Mets are not a team with so much talent that they can afford to practically give away one game out of five. If they continue to keep Perez in the rotation that is practically what they are going to do. Send him down, let him work on his mechanics and give someone else a chance to pitch while the Mets are still in the NL East race. His replacement certainly can’t do any worse than Ollie already has. The Mets bullpen, players and fans all deserve better.