Yesterday we heard that if Oliver Perez had another bad outing that he could have been run out of town on a rail. So lucky for him he didn’t have another bad outing. In fact, he had a darn good one: two scoreless innings, no walks and more strikes than balls. It probably bought him another start.
But it probably didn’t save his skin. Andy Martino reports that Perez is still probably a dead man walking as far as the Mets are concerned:
While Oliver Perez remains officially in the rotation competition, the Mets have decided internally that he will not be a starter during the regular season, sources say, and the team remains likely to release its $36 million pitcher before Opening Day. But Perez probably pitched well enough Thursday to earn another Grapefruit League appearance.
Really: what’s the point of giving him another start if he’s not going to be on the team? There are a finite number of innings to be doled out during spring training. Why not give them to someone who might actually benefit the Mets in 2011?
The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.
Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.
His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.
The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.