The Book of Ollie Returns To Queens

With the reporting of pitchers and catchers looming on the horizon, the Mets have finally filled out their rotation with a familiar face: left-hander Oliver Perez.

The terms reported -- three years, $36 million, no fourth year option -- favor the Mets, and validate General Manager Omar Minaya's decision to not up the ante even though losing Ollie could have undermined what has all-in-all been a successful offseason. Now the Mets return one of the better pitching rotations in the National League, and have them backed up by a souped-up bullpen. On paper at least, they have officially improved the team.

Besides Scott Boras -- whose Book on Ollie clearly went unread, and who once again has to swallow his pride in accepting a deal well below what he was shooting for -- the other notable loser in this deal is Pedro Martinez. The Mets now have six pitchers for five spots, which doesn't even include young lefty Jon Niese, so it should mean the end of the road for the pitcher who was once charged with "rebuilding the brand". Of course his speculative spot wasn't really affected by the Perez signing, more the recent Tim Redding and Freddy Garcia signings; Pedro would have only been tabbed to shoulder the responsibility of a fifth starter, nothing more.

Compared to the contract the significantly older, but not significantly better, Derek Lowe signed with the Alanta Braves (4-years/$60 million), Ollie looks like a relative discount. It remains to be seen whether Minaya will be able to translate these savings into an offer for a big bat like Manny Ramirez or Adam Dunn.

Even if Omar decides not to pursue any more significant moves, this signing means he's done his job. He fixed the glaring weakness on the team with top shelf talent, and left the rest of the team intact. All things considered it should mean an exciting competitive 2009 season as the Mets try to once again wrest the division from the champion Phillies.

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