Oliver Perez worked in the Mexican League this winter and he showed up early to spring training. Didn’t help, though, as he made his spring training debut against the Braves over the weekend and gave up four runs in two innings, walked three guys and only got the ball up to 86 m.p.h. Once, that is. Most of the time his fastball was in the low-to-mid 80s.
No, you shouldn’t make too much of spring training stats, but Perez has way more riding on his spring training than anyone in Mets camp, so he needed to be more effective than the guys who are able to give the standard “I was just workin’ on stuff” excuse.
But there is a bright side: if Perez had come out throwing bullets this spring, the Mets would have to give some serious consideration to placing him in an actual role coming out of camp. If he continues to stink up the joint, however, cutting him loose will be way easier.
The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.
Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.
While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.