Why Did the Mets Pick Perez Over Lowe?
Yes, we really asking that as a question because, to be honest, we have absolutely no idea why they did. Believe it or not, the terms of the two starters' contracts are a lot closer than you may think.
Lowe's new deal with the Braves calls for $60 million over four years, spread evenly into $15 million increments. And what is Perez getting from the Mets? $36 million over three years, likewise spread evenly. That's a difference of $3 million.
So, for $3 million, the Mets could have a playoff-tested pitcher with four years in the National League with an ERA below 4 (12 wins, 16 wins, 12 wins, 14 years), as opposed to Perez, who is a combined 26-20 since he landed with the Mets in late 2006. Oh, and his ERAs waffled from 6.38 to 4.22. Good times.
The difference in the pitchers' styles is striking, but the results are equally at odds. Perez is often lauded for his high strikeout counts, a stat which obscures the high total of home runs and walks he allows. Lowe, on the other hand, is a sinkerballer who puts tons of balls in play and trusts his defense. He'll give up the occasional homer, but he's no Oliver Perez.
So, is Omar Minaya honestly trying to tell us that Perez is within $3 million of the pitcher that Derek Lowe is? Really? Shouldn't Lowe's consistency alone be worth more than that?
But wait, there's more. Minaya could use the predictable, "we just didn't have that $3 million" defense. That may be true, but there are ways he could have worked around it. For starters, all of these players, signed by Minaya, could have been not signed -- or in the case of Church, traded -- to save the money:
- Ryan Church, one-year deal, $2.8 million (there's your $3 million right there)
- Tim Redding, one-year deal, $2.25 million (we don't even know if he'll beat out Freddy Garcia for the Mets' final rotation spot)
- Freddy Garcia, one-year deal $1.5 million (it's not Redding money, but there's half of the difference to Lowe right there)
- Fernando Tatis, one-year deal, $2.2 million (see under Ryan Church, because one of these guys won't play)
- Alex Cora, one-year deal, $2 million (he's the team's backup, utility infielder, and he's making $2 million. Couldn't they find a minor league infielder to do that?)
To be fair, it's not like Lowe and Perez's deals are exactly even. After all, Lowe isn't just getting an additional $3 million per year, he's also getting an additional year. That being said, it still seems like an incredibly cheap approach to the Mets' first year in a new stadium, with a team coming off two of baseball's more dramatic collapses in consecutive seasons.
Thoughts? Am I going way to far here? Or am I right thinking that the Mets may have mortgaged obvious NL East front-runner status for $3 million?
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