Oliver Perez is no longer competing for a rotation spot following another poor start yesterday, but the Mets aren’t ready to release him quite yet and will instead give him a chance to claim a bullpen job.
Perez is much better suited for relief work at this point, as he actually remained somewhat effective against left-handed hitters even while being a mess overall during the past two seasons, but it doesn’t sound like his odds of securing a bullpen spot are very good either.
In fact, both Andy Martino of the New York Daily News and Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com report that the Mets will almost surely release Perez after giving him a couple appearances as a reliever.
If true it seems odd that they wouldn’t just release him now, since watching Perez throwing 30 more pitches shouldn’t change the way anyone thinks about him, but as Rubin writes maybe the Mets are holding out hope for “some miracle performance in the next week.”
Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.
Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.
Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Robert Gsellman has won the No. 4 spot in the Mets’ starting rotation. He adds that the Mets are likely to play things cautiously with lefty Steven Matz. The fifth and final rotation spot will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo.
Gsellman, 23, has had a great spring. The right-hander has allowed three earned runs on 15 hits and four walks with nine strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings. That is on the heels of seven solid starts at the end of the 2016 season during which he yielded 12 earned runs on 40 hits and 12 walks with 40 strikeouts in 41 innings.
Matz, 25, is dealing with irritation in his left elbow. He had surgery in October to remove a bone spur and was a Tommy John patient several years ago. It sounds like the Mets are leaning towards having him start the season on the disabled list.
Wheeler, 26, isn’t having a great spring. He’s surrendered seven runs in 7 1/3 innings. Lugo has given up three earned runs in seven spring innings and also looked solid in the World Baseball Classic although he took the loss in the final against the United States.