R.I.P. Oliver Perez

When Oliver Perez bursted onto the scene in 2004, he looked primed to battle Johan Santana and Randy Johnson for the title of the league’s best lefty.  With a mid-90s fastball and a devastating slider, Perez looked like a young Randy Johnson, as did his stats.  Oli sported a 2.98 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and a remarkable 11 K/9 through 30 starts that season, and he was just 23 years old.

But just as quickly as Perez emerged, he plummeted back into baseball obscurity.  In 2005, he had a 5.85 ERA, 1.67 WHIP and an embarrassing 6.12 BB/9.  Next year’s results weren’t any better with his ERA and WHIP jumping even higher (6.55 and 1.75, respectively.)  It wasn’t just his numbers that were worse.  His fastball was down in the low 90’s and his slider didn’t have nearly the same bite.

However, it was still good enough stuff to get by on, and he would show that in his first full season in New York.  He performed well enough to draw $12 million per year over 3 seasons.  This is the second year of that deal, and we can go ahead and chalk it up as another terrible move by Minaya and the front office.  Perez has walked 3 or more batters in each of his seven starts this year and after tonight’s home run derby, he sports an ERA of almost 6 and a WHIP of almost 2.  You don’t have to watch him long to see that he clearly does not have it.  His fastball can no longer touch 90 and averages 88.

I will be surprised, to say the least, if we ever see Oliver Perez on a big league mound again.

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