Recently at Citi Field, two Mets catchers, Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco, produced extra-inning walk-off home runs in two separate games to help lead the team to victory. For a team that was void of the long ball last year especially at home, Barajas was brought in by GM Omar Minaya, to help fill that void. The slugger currently leads the team with nine home runs. Blanco, who has always been looked upon more for his defense than for his offense, was another acquisition instrumented by Minaya that has already paid him dividends.
With Minaya seemingly pushing all the right buttons so far this season, Mets fans have had to look to previous years in order to find a chink in the general manager’s armor.
Starting pitcher, left-hander Oliver Perez, comes to mind as evidence of Minaya’s mishandling of the Mets organization in previous years. Perez is currently in the second year of a three year contract, a deal worth $36 million that has done more to haunt the general manager than it has to jolt him.
Comparable to other fifth starters around the National League, Perez could make a case for himself as a formidable option on the back-end of any number of team’s starting rotations. The only hesitation to do so is that the majority of fifth starters are not earning $12 million a year.
At the start of the 2010 season, Mets manager Jerry Manuel implemented a sense of urgency to win that has made for less patience when observing the shortfalls of his staff. Witnessing an extremely disappointing outing by his left-hander earlier today in which Perez walked seven Giants batters on 98 pitches in just three-and-one-third innings of work is as good a gauge as any when testing that patience.
With Perez’ situation more a mental than a physical issue, the coaching staff as well as the Mets front office will now have to put all the recent heroics aside and think long and hard as to what their next move will be regarding the future of their struggling left-hander, who is looking more and more like a bust each and every time he goes out to the mound for the Mets.
For further reading on the Mets, check out NY Times David Waldstein’s piece, Mets Wait and Wait Some More, for Beltran.