Remembering when Oliver Perez was Sandy Koufax

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As we bid our final farewell to Oliver Perez — I have this on constant repeat right now — let us recall what led to the big contract that contributed mightily to Perez’s massive disdain among the Mets’ faithful.

You’ll remember that Perez is a Scott Boras client and you’ll remember that Boras makes big glossy sales pitch binders for all of his free agents.  None got more notice than Perez’s binder, which was easily the most absurd example of the genre.  From the contemporaneous New York Times account:

The Perez book is divided into eight chapters that include such headings as: “Perez Turns Corner in 2006,” “Perez Is One of Baseball’s Top 5 Left-Handed Starting Pitchers,” “A Rare Young Left-Handed Starting Pitcher Available on the Free-Agent Market,” “Big-Game Ollie,” and “Durable Ollie.”

In the chapter “Perez Turns Corner in 2006,” charts are used to argue that the pitching statistics for Perez, who is now 27, are similar to those of Randy Johnson and the Hall-of-Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax at the same age. What’s more, the charts argue that Perez’s control problems will improve, just like they did for Koufax and Johnson as they got older.

Missed it by thaaaaat much!

But really: scoff all you want, but Boras got his guy paid with that rebop.

Phillies, RHP Taijuan Walker reportedly agree to 4-year deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – The active Philadelphia Phillies added Taijuan Walker to their rotation on Tuesday, agreeing to a $72 million, four-year contract with the right-hander.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

It was the second major free-agent score for the Phillies at the winter meetings after they reeled in shortstop Trea Turner on Monday with a $300 million, 11-year deal. Walker and Turner join a Phillies team that made it to the World Series this year before losing to the Houston Astros.

The 30-year-old Walker went 12-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts this season for the New York Mets, one of Philadelphia’s biggest NL East rivals. He slots into a rotation fronted by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.

The Phillies recently lost pitcher Zach Eflin in free agency to Tampa Bay.

Asked about the market for Walker earlier in the day, agent Scott Boras said it was robust.

“As you can see in the marketplace, there’s a whole number of pitchers that are throwing 60 and 70 innings that have been pursued, probably with the exception of (Jacob) deGrom, at the lower end of threshold around $13-15 million a year because the demand for quality pitching is so great,” Boras said.

“So, Tai … is one of the younger ones, one of the more durable ones and we expect him to be pursued greatly as his market unfolds.”

Walker was selected by Seattle with the No. 43 pick in the 2010 amateur draft. He made his big league debut with the Mariners in 2013.

Walker signed with New York as a free agent in February 2021. He turned down a $7.5 million player option last month in favor of a $3 million buyout, making his deal worth $17 million over two seasons.

The 6-foot-4 Walker made the All-Star team for the first time in 2021, putting together a fast start before fading to a 7-11 record with a 4.47 ERA in 30 games, 29 starts.