... on the minor league deal that the Nats have signed with Oliver Perez, Former Mets Great, lets dig a little bit deeper. You know the story about his time in Flushing, but do you know about his past? Perez started his career in San Diego (founded by the Germans...), and quickly was included in a trade to the Pirates (along with Jason Bay) for Brian Giles. It was there, with the Buccos, that Perez found his groove.
The marriage between Spin Williams (Nats pitching coordinator and then Pirates pitching coach) started off rocky, post-trade 2003 Perez was 0-3 with a 5.87 ERA and a 1.652 WHIP. Not too much of a surprise, going to a new city as a 22-year old trying to find his way. That year (2004), after some time with Spin, Perez had his best year as a pro going 12-10 with a 2.98 ERA, 1.153 WHIP, and a 4.5 WAR while leading the league in K/9 at a whopping 11.0.
And so enters the first great lull of Perez's career...
Injury (and mental) problems plagued the next several years and Perez lost not only velocity but lots of ballgames as well. After numerous DL stints, bullpen demotions, and minor league demotions it was time for a change of scenery; it should be noted that he was finally replaced in the Pirates rotation by Tom Gorzelanny. Perez was traded to the Mets for Xavier Nady, and was sent to AAA only to be called up less than 4 weeks later. He started his Mets career with a bang, posting a CG shutout in just his 3rd start.
The next year Perez had, arguably, the 2nd best year of his career, going 15-10 with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. But this wouldn't be the year the Mets were convinced. It took 2008 to warrant an extension, where his stats were across the board worse than 2008 by the way. And so enters the Mets idiocy, "Lets give this guy whose ERA went down by almost a point, while his WHIP went down, and his strikeout numbers decreased, while leading the league in Walks, a 3 year extension at $12 million a year." Minaya, "Oh, ok. Sounds good, that Madoff guy has really gotten us a lot of money so why not."
Combined in 2009-10, Ollie pitched in just 31 games (only 21 as a starter). His stats are something out of a horror film. 6.81 ERA. 112.1 IP. 85 ER. 21 HR. 100 BB. 99 K. -1.9 WAR. Terrifying.
So, the Nats are hoping to see some 2004 magic out of the 29-year old lefty. And if they do, it will be fantastic to see the Mets get shutdown by a pitcher they are paying $12 million. The chance of that happening are about .01%, but we are in the business of positive thinking... Wait, no we aren't. Even still, this is your standard low risk, high reward signing - maybe Spin Williams can work some magic and we can get some value for our MLB-minimum.