Oliver Perez Signs On With Nationals As Low-Risk Experiment

With the release of Oliver Perez, the Mets will pay $12 million for peace of mind (and a shred of sanity for their fans).

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Oliver Perez Signs With Nationals After Being Released By Mets

Young lefties with a history of success don't stay unemployed for long. On Monday, the New York Mets made the long-anticipated move of releasing southpaw Oliver Perez and eating the rest of his $12 million contract. Perez then became free to negotiate with any and every other team in baseball, and he decided to stay in the same division, signing on with the Washington Nationals.

The Nationals have signed Perez to a minor league contract, and because his salary is still the Mets' responsibility, they'll get him at the league minimum, making him a zero-risk investment. So now Washington becomes the team that tries to squeeze something out of a clearly talented but unthinkably frustrating 29-year-old body. Perez was a moderately effective pitcher as recently as 2008, but has averaged eight walks per nine innings over the past two seasons.

The Nationals signed Perez at the recommendation of pitching coordinator Spin Williams, who worked with Perez in Pittsburgh. The two have a good relationship.

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Mets Release Oliver Perez

First Luis Castillo, and now Oliver Perez, as this morning the New York Mets released the left-hander despite still owing him $12 million for the final season of his three-year, $36 million contract.

This move was far from a surprise, as Perez went just 3-9 with a 6.81 ERA in his two seasons with the Mets. This spring, he posted an 8.38 ERA and walked eight hitters in 10 innings.

For his part, Perez said all the right things. Via David Waldstein in the Times:

"They gave me an opportunity," he said. "They were fair with me. When I came here they said we are going to give you an opportunity to be a starter and I didn't do anything great. I went to the bullpen to try to be a lefty specialist and the last game I did a horrible job and that's why they decided to release me."

Perez still wants to pitch, and he'll probably get a chance somewhere, even if that's the Atlantic League. Given his recent performances, it's hard to imagine him getting a shot with a big-league club anytime soon.

Meanwhile, with Castillo and Perez gone, most of the previous regime's big mistakes are now out of sight (if not completely out of mind). The next step is to get Jason Bay back on track. And if not ... Well, what's $66 million among friends?

For more on Perez and the Mets, check out Amazin' Avenue.

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