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Mets Drop Oliver Perez, Eat $12M Salary

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Oliver Perez (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Oliver Perez (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Mets fans have long been ready to put Oliver Perez behind them. On Monday, New York answered the call for Perez’s release.

Perez, who is in the final year of a three-year, $36 million contract, learned of his fate after a Monday morning meeting with general manager Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins.

“When they told me, I almost knew what they were going to tell me,” said Perez. “It’s one of those times you don’t feel great, but I don’t want to quit. I think I’ve got more in my career.”

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Simply put, Perez didn’t do his job.

The embattled lefty surrendered consecutive homers to Jeff Frazier and Brian Bixler during the Mets’ 7-4 victory over the Washington Nationals on Saturday, crippling his chances of staying with New York as a reliever.

“I think they gave me an opportunity,” Perez said. “They were fair with me when I came here. ‘We’re going to give you an opportunity to be a starter.’ I didn’t do anything great. They moved me to the bullpen trying to be a lefty specialist. And the last game, that was a real horrible job.”

LISTEN: A somber Oliver Perez speaks to the media on Monday after being released by the Mets


The Mets chose to absorb the $12 million remaining on Perez’s contract rather than keep a pitcher who has been ineffective in trying to make the team as a reliever.

“The velocity was not there. The command was not there,” Alderson said. “It wasn’t going to work in a starting role. It didn’t appear as if it were going to work in a relief role, at least anytime soon.”

LISTEN: Sandy Alderson on his decision to release Perez


Perez, whose velocity has been down since he won 15 games in 2007 season, was 1-6 with a 5.94 ERA in seven starts to begin last season before being moved to the bullpen. He went on the disabled list with patella tendinitis in his right knee on June 5 and made just six appearances the rest of the season.

He was in the mix for a rotation spot this spring but quickly fell out of the competition. The Mets decided to try him as a situational left-hander, but that didn’t work out too well, either.

 

“(Perez) didn’t get it done,” Collins said after the left-hander’s latest bad outing.

The Mets will also have to eat second baseman Luis Castillo’s contract, owing him $6 million for 2011.

“For a variety of reasons it was important to have them in camp,” said Alderson. “To start with, I didn’t want to do anything rash or reflexive given what I had heard about the situation here. And so I think it was important to bring them to camp, and then once brought to camp give them a legitimate opportunity. I think in both cases we tried to do that.”

Statement from the Mets:

The New York Mets today announced that they have released lefthanded pitcher Oliver Perez.

The 6-3, 205-pounder had one year left on his contract.

“As I said during the winter our plan was to bring Oliver to Spring Training and give him a chance,” said Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson. “After trying him as a starter and out of the bullpen, we felt that we needed to move in a different direction. Terry and I met and I went to Jeff (Wilpon), told him my recommendation and Jeff approved on behalf of ownership.”

Perez went 0-5 with a 6.80 ERA in 2010 after going 3-4 with a 6.82 ERA in 2009. Overall, the lefthander is 58-69 with a 4.63 ERA during his nine-year major league career with the San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates and Mets.

Does Perez’s release make the Mets a much better team, or did you just want him out of sight? Sound off in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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