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Amazin' Avenue Mets Awards: Worst Relief Pitcher

"First ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen? Then prepare to accept it. Then proceed to improve on the worst. " -- Dale Carnegie

I was kind of hoping Oliver Perez wouldn't win this award because he's certain to win the Worst Starter award, too, and it would've been nice to mix things up a bit. And in fairness to Ollie, as much as his 13 relief innings were an unmitigated disaster, they were still only 13 innings. Ryota Igarashi tossed 30.1 relief innings and allowed a mind-blowing 24 runs. Fernando Nieve allowed 23 runs and eight home runs in 40 innings. Elmer Dessens struck out just 16 batters in 47 innings. These guys were all worse than Perez when we consider the full breadth of abject uselessness, for as bad as Perez surely was, even 13 truly miserable innings can devalue a man only so much.

After struggling through the first two months as a starter, Perez was placed on the disabled list with an "injury" after refusing an assignment to the minor leagues to work on his "pitching". He made three relief appearances after returning, pitching 4.1 innings of five-run ball between July 17 and August 1. Then, unbeknownst to him, Perez entered double-secret Operation: Shutdown, as he was in bullpen time-out for 28 days before finally being allowed to pitch one inning of a 9-3 rout at the hands of the Braves on August 30. Perez made it into another game just a week later, this time pitching the final two frames in a 13-3 bludgeoning by the Nationals.

After that spurt of activity it was back into Operation: Shutdown, as Perez saw no action for another 26 days. Then, on the season's final day, Perez was brought in to "get things over with" as the Mets and Nationals carried an opposite-of-thrilling 1-1 tie into the 14th inning. He managed to strike out Ian Desmond to lead things off, then this happened:

  • Adam Kennedy was hit by a pitch.
  • Adam Kennedy stole second.
  • Roger Bernadina walked.
  • Will Nieves walked.
  • Justin Maxwell walked.

That last walk forced in the go-ahead run and brought Jerry Manuel out of the dugout to make what would be the final pitching change of his Mets tenure.

Here is how everyone voted.

1st 2nd 3rd
Alex Ryota Igarashi Fernando Nieve Elmer Dessens
Eno Tobi Stoner Oliver Perez Ryota Igarashi
Eric Fernando Nieve Elmer Dessens Ryota Igarashi
James Fernando Nieve Ryota Igarashi Oliver Perez
Joe Oliver Perez Fernando Nieve Ryota Igarashi
Mark Oliver Perez Elmer Dessens Ryota Igarashi
Matthew Oliver Perez Elmer Dessens Sean Green
Rob Oliver Perez Ryota Igarashi Raul Valdes
Sam Fernando Nieve Elmer Dessens Ryota Igarashi

And here is the final vote tally.

Player Points
Oliver Perez 15
Fernando Nieve 13
Ryota Igarashi 12
Elmer Dessens 9
Tobi Stoner 3
Sean Green 1
Raul Valdes 1