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.”
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…
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