Oliver Perez is throwing in the low 90s. And a digression about Culiacan, Mexico

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When Mets fans heard that Oliver Perez was getting rocked in the Mexican Winter League, they were cautiously optimistic that it would cause the team to finally part ways with the guy. I mean, if you can’t make it in Culiacan,* how are you supposed to handle the Big Apple?

But now it seems that things aren’t so cut and dry. Perez has thrown 10 consecutive scoreless innings and a source tells Adam Rubin that Perez is touching the low 90s on the radar gun:

“Early velocities were 87-89, occasional 90 — all out of the pen. Starting velocities have the consistent 88, but spikes are higher and more common — 91s and occasional 92s.”

I’ll believe that Perez is useful when I see it (could that be in k.p.h.?), but a successful conclusion to his winter league season would certainly make for a fun Mets spring training, no?

*Culiacan: where dreams go to die.  It was 1991, and a middleweight boxer from my hometown of Beckley, West Virginia by the name of Tommy Small was knocking guys out all over Appalachia.  Occasionally he made it to the big venues like Satchmo’s Night Club in Akron.  That spring he stood at a gaudy 23-3 record and was ready for the big time. He got his shot: a fight with Julio Cesar Chavez. The champ. A man who, around that time, was considered to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.  The location: Culiacan.

The guy who owned the radio station I worked for had some business interest in Small, so he and a bunch of his buddies went down to Culiacan as part of his entourage. They decided to make a big deal out of it, phoning in reports to the radio station. I was on the air the night of the fight, and I was tasked with giving round-by-round updates.  Excitement was in the air.

It was short-lived excitement. Chavez made minced meat out of Small who, in reality, was merely a glorified sparring partner for the champ.  My boss — who had been drinking tequila from the Wednesday he arrived until the time he called in with his last update from the fight — portrayed it was an epic battle, in which “our local boy may have lost, but he got the champ’s attention.”  My guess is that he didn’t even get the champ to sweat, but it was probably the greatest moment in Beckley, West Virginia boxing history.


Well, unless you count the time Mr. T. was the referee for the Tough Man Competition at the Raleigh County Armory. That was pretty bitchin’ actually. There was foxy boxing and everything.

Report: Pirates sign Felipe Rivero to four-year contract extension

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.

Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.

Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.

Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”