Nobody thought that Mark Teixeira would be a Yankee until it happened. Could Brian Cashman's next stealth signing be Oliver Perez? I certainly hope not, but Kevin Kernan makes the case that the Yankees are better off with Perez than with Andy Pettitte.
Kernan's recommendation of Perez to the Yanks comes alongside his recommendation that the Mets ante up for Derek Lowe. Unfortunately, we know how this situation is likely to play out. The Mets will be outbid for Lowe (worst-case scenario - the Phillies) while the Yankees will swoop in and take the only other good free-agent starter on the market.
I am probably in the minority of Met fans in that I want Perez as much or more than Lowe. Perez is 27, a lefty, has shown he can pitch well in New York and has enormous upside. And these were exactly the reasons I figured the Yankees would jump on him once Perez became a free agent.
So far, though, nobody has shown much interest in Perez. Presumably, teams are waiting for Boras to lower the price. And maybe, just like with Teixeira, the first time the Yankees will publicly show interest is when they announce they have signed Perez.
Ollie's career record against the Yankees:
Batting average against: .199
Derek Lowe has also shown he can pitch in big games in big markets, and he's had a chance to pitch in bigger games than Ollie has. And while there's a Good Ollie and a Bad Ollie, there's no such split with Lowe (just the occasional Derek Lowe face). If I had to choose between Lowe or Perez in a big game, I would have to go with Lowe.
But as long as we are talking upside, I think Perez is worth the same sort of offer the Mets have given Lowe. Neither may be enough for a Boras client, but the Mets should at least try.
And even if Ollie has had mixed results, check out his record against the Phillies in their championship year of 2008:
Batting average against: .181
Pretty good for the guy nobody seems to want.
Here's my biggest nightmare: The Phillies (or Braves) sign Lowe. Then, when attention turns to Perez, the Yankees swoop in. Desperate to make a splash, Omar Minaya signs the pitcher the Yankees didn't want - Andy Pettitte. And the Mets find out why the Yankees didn't want him.
Do you want Oliver Perez back on the Mets? Tell us what you think.