PORT St. LUCIE, FL - The New York Mets continued their house cleaning on Monday, releasing pitcher Oliver Perez.
The move comes just three days after the club jettisoned second baseman Luis Castillo.
Both players had one year left on their respective contracts. Perez had signed a three-year deal worth $36 million prior to the 2009 season and never lived up to expectations.
Perez, who was originally acquired by the Mets from Pittsburgh in 2006, had a rocky last two years in New York.
In 2009, he started just 14 games because of injuries and posted a record of 3-4 with a 6.82 earned run average. Last year, after struggling to an 0-5 mark with a 5.94 ERA in seven starts, he was demoted to the bullpen and refused an assignment to the minors. Following a stint on the disabled list, he was used sparingly out of the bullpen over the final two months of the year.
Overall, Perez was 0-5 in 2010 with a 6.80 ERA in 17 games. This spring, he had pitched to an ERA of 8.38 with eight walks over 9 2/3 innings.
"As I said during the winter our plan was to bring Oliver to spring training and give him a chance," said Mets general manager Sandy Alderson in a statement. "After trying him as a starter and out of the bullpen, we felt that we needed to move in a different direction."
Because of his lofty salary and the Mets' reported financial issues stemming from the Bernie Madoff scandal, eating the final year of Perez's contract likely had to be approved from ownership.
"[Manager] Terry [Collins] and I met and I went to Jeff [Wilpon], told him my recommendation and Jeff approved on behalf of ownership," Alderson added.
The 29-year-old lefty did have two solid years with the Mets. After helping New York to the NLCS following his midseason acquisition in 2006, he was 15-10 with a 3.56 ERA in 29 starts in 2007 and 10-7 with a 4.22 ERA in 34 outings the following year.
Perez has a career record of 58-69 with a 4.63 ERA in 206 games, including 195 starts, over nine seasons with San Diego, Pittsburgh and the Mets.