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How long a leash for Ollie?

More from the mailbag: Perez

    Rob, do you think the Mets should try and get Perez to go to Triple-A and work some stuff out? He has been real bad so far, and the difference in teams is probably only a couple wins again this year so keeping him up to get pounded doesn't make a lot of sense. Although, he could be terribly unlucky so far this year with a BABiP of .354 vs. a career .296. He seems to be striking people out a fair amount, but walking way too many. Would Jonathon Niese or Freddy Garcia be a better option? Lots of variables in a decision like this. Wondering what your thoughts are.
    Michael
    New Haven

Well, Garcia's finished. And while I like Niese, 1) he's struggling in Triple-A, and 2) the Mets will soon need to replace Livan Hernandez, and Niese figures as the best candidate.
Also, you're right: Perez hasn't been real lucky. Then again, I suspect that pitchers who are consistently way behind in the count will give up a somewhat higher batting average on balls in play because they're so often forced to throw a batting-practice fastball. The real issue is Perez's control, as he's walked 15 batters in 19 innings.

Is this really something to be terribly worried about, though? Should he really be down to one shot?

This is Perez's third (presumably) full season with the Mets. Below are his worst stretches with the club, control-wise. The first two are from 2007, the next two from 2008, and the last one is this wonderful season:

When the Mets signed Perez last winter for three years and $36 million, this is the pitcher they were getting. They were getting a pitcher who walks hitters, and goes through stretches where he walks a lot of hitters. Is it really possible that they did not know this? Exactly one year ago, Perez issued 17 walks in 17 innings over the course of four starts. This is what he does.

Sometimes, anyway. Is he going to pitch well in his next start? Nobody can know. In his first post-4/30 start last year, he walked only two batters but gave up three home runs and lost to the Dodgers, 5-1. In his next start he walked four Reds in six innings (but won), and 12 days later he walked eight Rockies in five innings.

He is what he is. The Mets are paying him $12 million and the organization isn't exactly loaded with starting pitchers who can give the big club six good innings every time out. So unless you can find something physically wrong with Perez, you keep throwing him out there and hoping for the best. If you wanted him in February, you have to still want him in April and May.