And thusly, though the scenery may change, things remain the same with the Mets.
The re-signing of Oliver Perez probably signals a few different things.
1) The Mets are more or less sated with the starting pitchers they will bring to the table this season.
2) Given the injury history of Ben Sheets and the age & injury history of Randy Wolf, Perez, at 27 and without any major injury problems, was probably the best option.
3) There is a secret hope that Oliver Perez will somehow turn into the 2007 Oliver Perez every time out.
4) Whatever is left to do with the 2009 Mets, will happen to the offense.
It's not the time, right now, to continue to harp on Manny Ramirez, though rest assured I will probably continue to do so at some point in the near future. But if the Mets are done with Free Agents and trades, then they look to be content to return to the table with what amounts to mostly the same team, plus a few better relief pitchers. The starting rotation, from 1 to 4, is exactly the same. But it will continue to elicit questions about how many innings they will be able to eat. We know what Santana can do, and even off knee surgery, I think we'd all be hard-pressed to find a tangible reason that he wouldn't be as good as last season. Mike Pelfrey made The Leap last season, now it's up to him to continue forward. But if you buy into the whole innings count argument, he may not. But I'm not so concerned. It's not like Pelfrey is a slight kid with a violent delivery home. Pelfrey is a 6'7" horse with a fluid move to the plate. I'm not so concerned. Or at least, not so concerned about him as I am about 3 and 4, John Maine and Oliver Perez. I think Maine will bounce back from the bone spur problem, that's one thing. But as Jason at Faith and Fear calls it, Maine has a major case of "Leiteritis," that is, inability to put away batters with 2 strikes.
Then, there's Ollie.
Not much needs to be said.
Basically, this could be another taxing season for the bullpen if the starters can't solve their own questions. It's not something that inspires a lot of confidence in the Mets fan. Particularly if, on the other side of the ball, the offense is going to peck and scrape and claw inconsistently throughout the season. This team as it stands won't get picked by anyone to win anything. I think it's silly for Omar & the Boy-King to stand pat when everyone around him seems to know this. There's no confidence for the Mets fan right now. If these guys want us to be a little more confident, I think the answer is abundantly clear.
His name is Manny Ramirez.
(OK, so I mentioned him. It's all going to come back to him in some way, shape or form as long as he's still out there.)