So last week as I was scrambling to adjust to my new schedule (it's temporary, fear not fans of subpar baseball writing) I really wanted to write a piece telling Mets fans to chill their slits and ease off Oliver Perez. My thinking was that after inking a $36 million deal and not being totally healthy during Spring Training, Ollie would get a little some slack, some leeway to improve on his dismal start. Basically I thought calls for his head and his demotion were a little premature and unrealistic. Trust me, I've had to watch Brad Penny make 5 starts.
But alas, the time to properly write the piece didn't come and well... good thing. They demoted the poor sumbitch.
The Mets are figuring out where to send Perez; apparently, the moon is not an option. And they will wind up making a decision that, as Jerry Manuel said Sunday morning, is in the best interest of everyone, both in the long term and immediately. Now that it's clear Perez will not make his scheduled start Friday against Pittsburgh, the Mets will announce his replacement, and all signs point to Ken Takahashi, who impressed Manuel with how he responded after Shane Victorino nearly knocked his first pitch through his stomach.
"He threw one ball over the middle of the plate and it hit him in the chest, and he said, 'No more. I'm working the corners now.' " Manuel said. "And he did a good job. I was impressed."
Ken Takahashi, a man who sounds more like someone who's name ran in the credits when you beat Bases Loaded then an actual player, is filling in for a $36 million pitcher because he didn't get hit in the chest with a second line drive. METS FANS HOW DO YOU LIVE LIKE THIS?
What comes next for Perez, but more importantly what comes next for the NL's NYC club? This a pretty serious panic move when we've barely turned the calendar page to May. An acknowledgment of failure by Perez is an acknowledgment of failure in the Mets front office. And for a team with one of the highest payrolls in baseball, that's a very bad thing.
Speaking to Jose Reyes in camp he told me that one of the things that he really felt was going to put the team over the top in '09 was the stability that came with having transsexual manager Jerry Manuel at the helm for the whole year. No drama. Well I'm not so sure that a major rotation shakeup involving Perez, and I can't stress his $36M extension enough, doesn't serve as a portent for another season of handwringing and circling vultures in Queens. Bad times.