Joel Sherman is reporting that the Mets have re-signed Oliver Perez. While there may not have been a Million Ollie March, this is news to celebrate, especially since, according to Sherman, the Mets held the contract to three years, without even an option for a fourth.
Whatever you may think of Derek Lowe, I'd rather have Ollie for three years at $36 million than Lowe, who is almost a decade older, for four years and $60 million. Not to mention A.J. Burnett at five years and $82 million. This is one contract that has no risk of crippling the Mets for years to come. The Yankees can afford to eat Burnett's contract if and when that becomes necessary. But only the Braves, who last year started with a rotation that included John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Mike Hampton, can sign Lowe, who will be 39 at the end of his deal, to get younger!
As for Manny Ramirez, I maintain that filling the rotation was a more critical need. Even with Ollie, the Mets' fifth starter is Tim Redding.
At the top of the rotation, you have Johan Santana and John Maine, who are both coming off offseason surgery, and Mike Pelfrey, who has yet to pitch at a high level for a full year.
With Perez, the Mets have four pitchers with the capability of having All-Star seasons and only one spot that has a good chance of being shaky.
Without Perez, they would still have a potentially strong top three, but there would be more pressure on all of them to perform at a high level with two-fifths of the rotation question marks.
Even if Santana wins 25 games, the Mets would be in trouble with both Tim Redding and Randy Wolf in the rotation. And Ben Sheets looks like too much of an injury risk.
Now the Mets have another lefty to face the Phillies and all their lefthanded stars. And last year, Perez allowed only ONE RUN in 26 innings against the Phillies (two games at home, two on the road).
Here again are Ollie's stats against the Phillies in 2008:
With the rotation taken care of, the Mets do need to start looking more closely at their corner outfield situation. But relievers, starters and outfielders is the right priority.
After re-signing Perez, have the Mets had a successful offseason? Or do they still need to bring in another outfield bat? Tell us what you think.