New York Mets starting pitcher Oliver Perez throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, on Saturday, May 2, 2009, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
In fact, there is a chance the team will release Perez, barely two years after they signed him to a three-year, $36 million deal.
"There is no way he is starting for this team," a person familiar with the Mets told the Daily News.
That comment came after Perez pitched two scoreless innings against the Cardinals with many club executives watching from the stands.
"What he did today was what we were hoping he would do, and that's go after hitters and throw the ball in the strike zone," Collins said. "By doing so, he made some pitches and got outs. I wouldn't say his job (was on the line), but we certainly were going to revisit the . . . if he would have had a tough day, I probably would have thought about the situation we talked about when we came in here, that situational lefty."
But there is no guarantee that there is a situational lefty role for Perez, either. His fastball has regularly been clocked in the mid-80s this spring.
When asked specifically about Perez moving to the bullpen as a lefty specialist, Collins told ESPN New York, “Is it going to be hard for him? Probably. He’s going to have to move the ball around the strike zone. When he gets 3-2, sometimes he might have to pitch a little ‘backwards."
It appears that Chris Young and Chris Capuano are the frontrunners for prominent roles in the starting rotation with Perez a distant eighth. Collins thinks the rotation will start to take shape sometime next week.
For now, Perez is still with the team. For how long remains unclear.