By Mike Steffanos
I know there are Mets fans out there who desperately wanted to see them sign Ben Sheets instead of Perez, but I like the deal. If the reported figures of 3 years and $36 million are true, that seems like a reasonable risk for the enigmatic leftie. I think they could have done a little better on the money if they really held the line, but I love the fact that it's a 3-year deal.
If we see the Ollie Perez of the second half of last season for most of the next three years, he'll earn every dollar of that contract. It's not out of the realm of possibility that he develops into a real number two starter and the contract is a bargain. Conversely, if he completely turns into a pumpkin, at least the Mets are only tied to him for 3 years.
Perez has tremendous incentive to become more consistent over these next three years and earn a big contract when he is still on the right side of 30. Whatever else we see from him, I doubt very much there will be any complacency.
Randy Wolf would probably have been a safer bet to provide consistency, but there were health concerns and little chance of upside over mediocrity.
Ben Sheets was unlikely to provide close to 200 innings, but probably could have given the Mets 150 above-average innings for a year or two. Still, I can't blame the Mets if taking a chance on talented but fragile pitchers has worn thin over the last couple of seasons.
In an ideal world, the Mets wouldn't be paying so much for the last two innings of games this season and might be in a position to sign Perez and take a gamble on Sheets, too. Think about it-- between Wagner ($10.5 million, no insurance relief), K-Rod ($8.5 million + $2.5 million signing bonus) and Putz ($5 million), the Mets will be paying out $26 million this season on these guys alone.
I'd still like to see them figure out something to get Pedro into the mix for a little rotation insurance, and I'd love to see some more bullpen options and a right-handed bat. Still, I'm glad we're not going deeper into February with uncertainty over the guts of the rotation.