The more I think about the Oliver Perez signing, the more convinced I become that the Mets were utterly worked over by Scott Boras. Think about it: was there ever really a market for Oliver Perez? He was a Type-A free agent, meaning any team that signed him would have to give up a first round draft pick in order to do so. Throw in Boras as his agent, who was clearly gunning for an eight figure per season deal, and the cost was prohibitive to just about every other team in baseball. There was no market for Oliver Perez. All of the teams that supposedly had interest, teams like the Cardinals, Rangers, ”maybe the Rangers,” never even made an offer.
So why did the Mets offer so much money per season? Omar got played by Boras. Right from the start, when the Mets were negotiating with Derek Lowe. If the Mets had signed Derek Lowe, that would be the worst thing for Boras’ bottom line, because even if the Mets had offered Lowe the exact same package the Braves had offered, no other team out there would have offered Perez the 3 years/$36 million offered by the Mets. Boras had to find another team other than the Mets to take Lowe, and caught a break when the Braves became desperate when John Smoltz signed with the Red Sox. That gave him the opening he needed to set this up to be a lucrative postseason even before Manny Ramirez signs.
Then, somehow he leverages the Mets into offering Perez $12 million a season despite a lack of interest from other clubs. Seriously, who out there was going to offer Ollie Perez eight figures? The economy is killing baseball’s middle class right now. The Cardinals and Brewers could use another starting pitcher, but only if Perez became available at a discount. Both would have had to forfeit a first round pick to sign him. The Rangers were mentioned at one time as a possibility, but they are always mentioned when a Boras client is involved, and they seem to have zeroed in on Ben Sheets. Who else was seriously pursuing a starter? So why did the Mets even budge off of 3 years/$30 million?
They even tried to leverage the situation by entertaining the idea of pursuing Sheets. But was this ever seriously discussed? There was never even any talk of bringing Sheets or his agent to town, and you would think that if the Mets were really looking to sell Sheets on New York, they would bring him in, take him to a show, maybe a basketball game, maybe out to the suburbs. They never did any of this. As far as I know, they never even really spoke to his agent. I mean, I can’t even tell you who his agent is, because I don’t ever remember reading anything about Sheets where his agent was mentioned. If he was a serious option, don’t you think they would have had serious dialogue with his agent, something that would have been reported somewhere?
Knowing Boras, he probably saw through all of this. After all, if there is one person who knows how to leverage through the media, it’s Boras. Nobody seem to buy for one minute that the Mets had been shaken off of their pursuit of Perez, even with pitchers available who are as good, or in the case of Sheets, better (but injury-prone). Perez ultimately got his money. It reminds me of a Steve Phillips move, where the Mets paid top dollar for a mid-level player. One thing Omar had always been good at doing is avoiding high-priced mistakes for mid-level talent. Under Omar, the team’s credo seemed to be, if you are going to overpay, overpay for the best. The Mets overpaid for Perez, but are only getting a mid-level talent in return.
This is all just speculation on my part, of course. I could just be a paranoid fan. But the way I see this scenario, Scott Boras played the Mets to perfection, and got what he wanted. And hey, good for him. That’s why he’s the best at what he does. I don’t hate him as a result; in some small way, I admire what he does, because he gets results that other agents don’t. Sadly, it came at the expense of our beloved Mets. And that is unfortunate.