There’s no disputing the fact that something, and maybe everything, is going horribly wrong for Oliver Perez this season. He’s made five starts now and is pitching to a 1-2 record with a 9.97 ERA. Obviously, he’s hurting the team and shouldn’t continue in the starting rotation. The only debate right now is whether he should be sent to Triple-A Buffalo or stay with the Mets in the bullpen in an attempt to right the ship.
I believe that Perez should stay with the Mets in the bullpen. He doesn’t even need to pitch out of the bullpen, but he should stay with the Mets not be banished to Buffalo.
The Mets should bring up Nelson Figueroa to take Perez’ spot in the rotation for one start. This will give Perez a chance to continue his work with pitching coach Dan Warthen and Johan Santana. Figueroa could take Ken Takahashi’s spot on the roster. Perez will have the pressure off him for 10 games and have a chance to just work on finding himself.
Perez is going to be a part of the Mets for the next three seasons. His 3-year/$36 million contract that he just signed assures him of that. So the Mets need to go forward with Perez on the major league roster and show some confidence in him. I think he needs that right now. The going is tough for him but it’ll get better. You can see it on his face that he’s disappointed in himself.
There are examples of established major league pitchers that have gone to the minors and come back better for it. Steve Trachsel did it for the Mets. But you can also look at Barry Zito with the Giants from last season. On April 29, 2008 Zito was off to an 0-6 start with a 7.53 ERA and was moved to the bullpen. He skipped a start and came back much better. He finished the season at 10-11 record after the bullpen move, and that’s with a bad team that finished the season 72-90. Take a look at Zito’s 2008 game log here. I could see the same type of season for Perez this year.
The Mets made a prett sizable investment in Perez this offseason. They shouldn’t give up on him after one bad month. He should stay with the team and work with the best pitching coaches in the organization. That means he stays with the major league team and works through his problems.