Daily News columnist John Harper has come up with the best short-term solution to the Mets' woes - get rid of Oliver Perez now.
I have been opposed to this idea but I have come around. I didn't like the prospect that Ollie's agent Scott Boras could be conspiring to force the Mets to set Perez free so that he could sign with the Yankees or Phillies and suddenly regain his form. Ollie has pitched well in both ballparks. Plenty of teams will be willing to gamble the minimum on Perez, who is still young and appears to be healthy (physically at least).
But as Harper points out, Perez is throwing only 86 mph and "still doesn't know where the ball is going."
A few years ago, the Yankees thought they were being clever when they took Armando Benitez off of the Mets' hands. But they got rid of Benitez just three weeks later.
Squawker Lisa, one advantage of the Yankees getting Ollie is that Joba Chamberlain and A.J. Burnett would no longer have to worry about being the biggest head case on the team.
As Harper notes, dumping Ollie now would send a positive message to the team that they "really do want to win." It would also send the same message to the fans, who have some reason to doubt it.
Just as in the offseason, the Mets are not taking on payroll after saying they would. Bengie Molina and Joel Pineiro were supposedly not worth it. With Molina, the Mets went for a much cheaper option in Rod Barajas, which looked like a good move in May, but now, not so much.
With Pineiro and all the other available pitchers, the Mets tried to say with a straight face that they were no improvement over the likes of Ollie and John Maine.
Actually, I'm more concerned with the Mets giving away prospects for the likes of Ted Lilly than whether or not they take on payroll. After Cliff Lee and Dan Haren, there's not much more that is worth either prospects or payroll.
But perhaps the best thing about eating the rest of Ollie's contract is that it would set a badly-needed precedent. Right now, Luis Castillo is the Mets' best option at second base. But wouldn't it be great if this offseason, the Mets were willing to eat the remainder of Castillo's contract, which will only have a year to run, and finally upgrade the position?
That would be something to look forward to - along with upgrades at manager and GM.