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2016 Free agent profile: Oliver Perez

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Would a reunion with the left-handed pitcher drive all, or just some, Mets fans to the brink of insanity?

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

For Mets fans of a certain age, the name Oliver Perez evokes a mixture of nostalgia, heartburn, and a minor panic attack. Originally signed by the Padres, Perez was acquired by the Mets down the stretch in 2006 as part of the Xavier Nady-for-Roberto Hernandez trade with the Pirates. He made seven starts during the regular season, and in them, he walked 17 and gave up seven home runs on the way to a 6.38 ERA.

But Perez started two games in the NLCS for the Mets that year, winning his first on a mediocre performance—five earned runs, three strikeouts and one walk—and a no-decision in the fateful Game 7, where he went six innings, gave up only one run and struck out four. Over the rest of his Mets career, he was plagued by meltdowns, erratic control, and general lack of execution, despite flashing some moments of brilliance and dominance.

After leaving New York, and spending 2011 out of Major League Baseball, Perez returned as a relief pitcher with the Mariners. He has been an effective lefty specialist ever since.

In 2015, between time with the Diamondbacks and the Astros, Perez faced 98 lefties and limited them to a 185/.235/.283 line, with 33 strikeouts, five walks, and one home run. Right-handed hitters hit him harder, and over the past few seasons it has become clear that Perez is best suited to strictly face lefties. He made $2.5 million in 2015, the second year of a $4.25 million contract he signed with the Diamondbacks after the 2013 season.

While the Mets need a left-handed reliever, it seems unlikely that they and Perez reunite, if only because there are similar options that would come without the baggage of bringing Perez back to Queens. They could do worse than bringing him back, though, provided they use him properly.