Oliver Perez Inserted Neatly Into Side Of Pile

The Seattle Mariners didn't have a response when the Los Angeles Angels signed Albert Pujols. The Seattle Mariners didn't have a response when the Los Angeles Angels signed C.J. Wilson, which happened within like ten minutes of the Pujols thing. The Seattle Mariners didn't have a response when the Texas Rangers won the right to negotiate with Yu Darvish. But Wednesday afternoon, the Texas Rangers finally got Yu Darvish signed. And the Seattle Mariners had a response.

Greg Johns:

Mariners sign former Mets starter Oliver Perez, 30, to Minor League deal w/camp invite. On comeback from AA ball last year.

I'm going to be honest with you - it's a little daunting to try to tackle the whole Oliver Perez thing, given his background with the Mets. Mets fans have a lot of opinions about Oliver Perez. They know more about Oliver Perez than I do. But I'll do the best that I can.

Oliver Perez is bad. If he's not bad, he has most certainly been bad recently. The 30-year-old southpaw had some success out of the bullpen during winter ball, but he spent last season in double-A and struck out 58 batters in 75.2 innings. With the Mets between 2009-2010, he posted a 6.81 ERA with more walks than strikeouts. Also Perez's velocity has declined to the point where one report last summer said his fastball was topping out in the mid-80s. Something you want to have topping out in the mid-80s is the temperature. Something you do not want to have topping out in the mid-80s is the velocity of a pitcher's fastball when his fastball used to be faster.

What gets you about Oliver Perez is that he didn't used to be bad. He was good enough in 2008, for example, for the Mets to sign him to a big contract. He was at his best much earlier in his career. Between 2002-2004, with the Padres and Pirates, Perez struck out 10.3 batters per nine innings as a starting pitcher. He posted baseball's third-best strikeout rate in 2004 at the age of 22. Oliver Perez was going to be something. He was traded with Jason Bay for Brian Giles. When Brian Giles was amazing.

Oliver Perez became something, all right. He became Oliver Perez as people currently know him, instead of something much better than that. Many veterans who sign minor league contracts with spring training invites have discouraging stories to tell, and Perez is no different. Perez is another guy inking a minor league contract who, years ago, you never would've thought would have to accept a minor league contract a few years down the road.

Chances of making the team? Oliver Perez doesn't have a chance of making the team. Not out of camp, unless something terrible happens, or unless Perez was throwing 95 in winter ball and I just have no idea. A lot of times, teams will invite extra catchers to spring training because they need bodies to catch all the pitchers they've collected. What this move tells me more than anything else is that the Mariners overbooked on catchers.

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