First off, I apologize for buying into the whole "New Ollie" spin this offseason. I really believed that Perez had changed. That his conditioning regimen in Arizona was legit. That he truly was "embarrassed" by his performance a year ago. That all of his problems in 2009 were related to knee issues -- and Perez had those fixed by season-ending knee surgery.
I won't get fooled again. Midway through his three-year, $36-million contract, Perez is -- in the words of David Byrne -- the same as he ever was. I'm tired of hearing about the cold, wind and whatever other meteorological excuse Perez and his enablers come up with. if Perez can't give the Mets a chance to win every five days, then the Mets should replace him with someone who can - Hisanori Takahashi, Dillon Gee, R.A. Dickey, whomever.
It's not like the Mets are 10 games under .500 and 20 games out of first place. This team plans to contend this year, so management has to make all of its decisions based on winning - period. Jerry Manuel said as much yesterday in this column when asked about moving Perez to the bullpen, where he should be relegated to mop-up duty.
"I really don't know," he said. "The way we are kind of geared right now, to say you're going to go there and work on something, it kind of shackles us in a sense in trying to get that done and also win games. We're here to win games."
Perez just giving up, which is what he did yesterday, is not a new phenomenon. Back in 2008, Billy Wagner called out Perez for doing the exact same thing.
Said Wagner: "Perez has honestly got to step up and know that we’ve just used every guy in our bullpen the night before. He can’t come out there and decide that, 'Gee, he hasn’t got it today, and so be it.”
Two years later, nothing has changed.