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“"When they told me, I almost knew what they were going to tell me," Perez said inside the clubhouse at the team's spring training complex after shaking hands with teammates. "It's one of those times you don't feel great, but I don't want to quit." Perez indicated he believed he got a fair shot from the Mets' new regime. "I think they gave me an opportunity," he said. "They were fair with me when I came here. 'We're going to give you an opportunity to be a starter.' I didn't do anything great. They moved me to the bullpen trying to be a lefty specialist. And the last game, that was a real horrible job." Perez, 29, is in the final season of a three-year, $36 million deal. He went 3-9 with a 6.81 ERA in 31 appearances (21 starts) during the first two seasons of the contract. The amount owed to Perez ranks near the top of the unofficial list of largest contracts eaten in organization history, with Castillo also high on the list. Perez is No. 1 in terms of outright money owed; however, Bobby Bonilla worked out a deal that eclipses $12 million. When the Mets cut bait with Bonilla after the 1999 season, they were on the hook for $5.9 million. Instead, the Mets agreed to pay Bonilla $29.8 million between 2011 and 2035. Those annual $1,193,248.20 payments begin July 1. The Mets also have eaten: • $9 million of $10 million owed to outfielder Roger Cedeno when they sent him to the St. Louis Cardinals at the end of spring training in 2004. • $4.5 million when they sent infielder Kazuo Matsui to the Colorado Rockies in 2006. • $3.75 million when they traded second baseman Roberto Alomar to the Chicago White Sox in 2003. If not for Duaner Sanchez's taxi-cab accident in the early morning hours of July 31, 2006 on I-95 in Miami that severely injured the reliever's shoulder and ultimately derailed the reliever's career, Perez might never have become a Met. While keeping Sanchez's accident hush-hush on trade-deadline day, the Mets re-engaged the Pittsburgh Pirates in talks, reviving a deal then-GM Minaya had shelved earlier that month. The Mets agreed to send Xavier Nady to the Pirates for right-hander Roberto Hernandez and Perez, with Hernandez the more urgent need, to take over Sanchez's late-inning bullpen role. Perez was 3-13 with a 6.63 ERA that season with the Pirates, and had been languishing at Triple-A Indianapolis for a month with sagging velocity and out-of-whack mechanics when the deal was consummated.
I think they gave me an opportunity ... I didn't do anything great. They moved me to the bullpen trying to be a lefty specialist. And the last game, that was a real horrible job.” -- Oliver Perez