Looks like I made a good assumption last night, huh? To be honest, ever since the Mets made little movement in their initial offer to Derek Lowe, it looked like they preferred Oliver Perez. They also seemingly had a set amount of money that they wanted to spend on a starting pitcher: 3 years, $36 million, or around what they paid for K-Rod. And if they plan on going out and adding a nice power outfield bat from the remaining pool of Manny, Dunn, and Abreu, I’m glad that they were able to get their guy for their dollar amount. If they don’t, though, then they are basically saying that they feel their only needed improvement this offseason was in the bullpen and that they will be able to finally avoid collapse in 2009 with an improved bullpen, and I’m not so sure that’s the best way to look at this.
I guess I like the signing, though I’m not sure if I’m ready for another three years of Good Ollie/Bad Ollie drama. The fact is, game to game, month to month, season to season, Oliver Perez is often a completely different pitcher. You never know which Ollie Perez will be taking the mound, how many innings you’re going to get, whether he has his control or not, whether he can keep the ball in the park. At times, he is a dominant starting pitcher, a potential ace, but he doesn’t appear to have the makeup to be anything more than rotation filler. Giving a guy like that three years…I just don’t know. I would have been pretty content letting Ollie leave, picking up the first round pick for him, and bringing in a guy like Sheets or Lowe, a guy who would be a marked improvement.
I think we are now at a point where Mets fans just aren’t that excited about this season. The K-Rod and Putz acquisitions were nice, but they feel like so long ago, and while the bullpen should be better than last year, there are still problems with the composition of this team, problems that have not been resolved. Second base and catcher are still disaster areas. Ryan Church is still being counted on to start, when his past performance indicates he’s a platoon guy. The team is hoping to squeeze another miracle out of Fernando Tatis and Daniel Murphy.
Signing Oliver Perez is nice, and hopefully we will see more Good Ollie than Bad Ollie this year, but the problem with bringing Ollie back is that it makes the rotation exactly the same as a year ago. There just feels like an overriding feeling of sameness to the 2009 Mets, and considering that the past two seasons have ended in heartbreak for the Mets, it is hard to get excited simply for an improved bullpen. I think Mets fans were hoping for a more sweeping change, with a better #2 to back up Johan or an impact bat to help cover for expected declines out of Delgado and the corner outfield platoons. Other than Johan, Putz, and K-Rod, what has really changed from the team that ended the 2007 season and the team that opens the 2009 season? This team could use a small shakeup, with a new base around the core, but this team has been loathe to do so, and with what has happened the past two seasons, I am wondering why.