Two different sources seem to think that the Braves have offered Derek Lowe a deal on the order of four years and $60 million (there's some debate over whether it is four years guaranteed or three years with an option). This does not bode well for the Mets' pursuit of Lowe, which still (allegedly) teeters on a low-ball offer of $36 million over three years. I wouldn't have thought the Braves to be in financial position to make such a competitive offer for Lowe, but they apparently have and the Mets are already looking elsewhere.
Is Oliver Perez a worse pitcher than Derek Lowe? Yes, yes he is. Perez was worth 1.2 WAR and $5.3 million last year (2.1 and $8.5 in 2007). Lowe was worth 3.5 WAR and $15.8 million last year (3.2 and $13.1 in 2007). These are not equivalent pitchers. Perez has youth on his side but little else. His upside is what Lowe is right now, and he's no guarantee to ever approach that. In his otherwordly 2002 season with the Pirates he was exactly 3.5 WAR, and unless he adds five MPH to his fastball this offseason I don't think anyone will mistake him for his 2002 iteration. Perez isn't horrible, but he isn't great, and he might not even be especially good. He isn't worth the $10 million a year the Mets have offered him, and they have little hope of actually signing him for that.
Don't mistake this realism for alarmism. Whatever Omar Minaya's thinks of these two pitchers, Mets fans should be disappointed if they wind up with Perez instead of Lowe, especially if the difference is only a few million dollars a year.
UPDATE: It's a done deal, says Dave O'Brien (h/t MLBTR). $60 million over four years is a lot of money, though the Mets will probably just end up giving Perez $52 million over the same four years. Ah crap.