While we don’t often link to the New York Post around here — for good reason, I might add — every now and then, something so outlandish comes along that to pass it up would be a shame. Coming to us via BBTF, then, is Kevin Kernan’s latest on one final move the Yanks should make. That move? Sign Oliver Perez. And the rationale? To be able to move Joba Chamberlain — you guessed it — back to the bullpen. Feel free to insert a facepalm here.
Anyway, Kernan writes:
The Yankees are waiting on Andy Pettitte, but there is another lefty available at basically Pettitte dollars and that’s Oliver Perez. Signing Perez would cement the Yankees’ rotation for years to come and would give them flexibility with Joba Chamberlain.
“Putting Perez on the Yankees would be a great move,” says one top pitching evaluator. “That would be the perfect environment for him. He would be more focused there. He needs strong leadership around him, and pitching in front of a packed house, he would not be complacent.”
Perez is represented by Scott Boras, who also represents Mark Teixeira. Cashman has a good working relationship with Boras. The GM would have to take a leap of faith with Perez, but the upside could be tremendous. In Pettitte, the Yankees will get a pitcher they hope has one good season left in his cranky left shoulder.
Opponents batted .290 last season against Pettitte, 56 points higher than they did against Perez, who allowed 66 fewer hits. Perez also had a lower ERA (4.22 to 4.54) and more strikeouts (180 to 158). Perez is 10 years younger, too, which fits Cashman’s plan of making the Yankees younger.
By signing so many quality free agents this season, it gives the Yankees a window to develop their own talent, and that is still the basis of what Cashman is trying to do. The bottom line, however, is the David Prices of the world can only be drafted when you have the top pick, something the Yankees never have. Teixeira was the fifth pick of the 2001 draft; the Yankees selected 23rd that season. And Sabathia was the 20th pick of the 1998 draft; the Yankees selected 24th that year.
I don’t even know where to begin. The idea that Oliver Perez helps “cement” any rotation is mind-boggling. This is a 27-year-old lefty who has already been on three teams and has a career WHIP in the National League of 1.43. His career BB/9 IP is 4.76. If Perez needs every game to be Game 7 of the World Series as the scout contends, then I worry for his place in any rotation.
Meanwhile, Kernan’s logic about draft picks is completely backwards as well. By signing another top-tier free agent, the Yanks would be surrendering yet another draft pick in 2009. Thus, they wouldn’t be anywhere close to a position to draft the Teixeira’s and Sabathia’s of the world. Meanwhile, losing out on Sabathia by four draft slots is hardly a crime. That year, the Yanks drafted Andy Brown in the first round (who?) and tried to take Mark Prior as a supplemental draft. The ability to pay overslot and the drive to draft smart can be just as important as a team’s position in the first round.
Additionally, a first round draft pick nets a team one whole player for development. While that player could be a huge impact player, the odds are against that happening. It’s far more important for the Yankees to keep open international scouting avenues as well.
Oliver Perez, in the end, is a mediocre pitcher masquerading as a lefty. He’ll always be in demand, and someone will always see him as a reclamation project because he throws hard. But he’s enjoyed limited success in the NL and would cost most teams more dollars and years than he is worth. Tying up a rotation spot with Oliver Perez is no way to commit to developing your own pitchers, and this is one avenue the Yanks have not seemed eager to pursue.