Oliver Perez – The Next Jason Schmidt?

If one were to ask a Pirates fan to make a list of the worst trades in team history, there is little doubt that the 2001 disposal of Jason Schmidt to the San Francisco Giants would appear high on the list. On July 30th, 2001, The Pirates traded Schmidt and outfielder John Vander Wal (a productive player in his own right) to the San Francisco Giants for two of the all-time greats, pitcher Ryan Vogelsong and outfielder Armando Rios.
Upon leaving Pittsburgh, Schmidt blossomed into one of the best power pitchers in all of baseball.
Suffice it to say, the move did not work out for the Pirates. After accumulating an ERA more befitting of an airline jet (5.86) than a pitcher in the major leagues, Vogelsong has taken his batting practice act to Japan. Rios last played professionally in 2005…for the Long Island Ducks of the Independent League. Rios was also named in the BALCO case, and is an admitted user of performance enhancing drugs. Which makes you wonder, how bad would Rios have been if he didn’t cheat?
On July 31st, 2006, the Pirates traded another talented but inconsistent power pitcher, this time to the New York Mets. At the time of the trade, it was clear that Oliver Perez was in need of repair. His fastball wasn’t so fast, and his control was MIA.
Which is why it was so disturbing to watch Perez mow down the Atlanta Braves in his first start of the 2007 season. Perez was bringing serious heat, and his slider was nearly unhittable. Just ask All-Star Andruw Jones, who struck out and had his bat shattered by the diabolical pitch during the game. Perez was cool and confident, his trademark hop over the foul line having returned. It was 2004 all over again.
Schmidt just took a little longer than most pitchers to harness his considerable talent. Still just 25, one can’t help but wonder if Perez is also about to blossom while wearing a different uniform.

Author: Matt Bandi

Matt has covered the Pirates at Wait ‘Til Next Year, Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and now Pirates Prospects. He served as Pirates team expert for Heater Magazine in 2009 and 2010 and has contributed to Graphical Player 2009, 2010 and 2011. Matt was also the editor of the 2011 and 2012 Pirates Prospects Annuals.

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  • http://mvn.com/mlb-pirates Cory Humes

    Welcome to the team, Dave. Looking forward to reading your stuff…

  • Vaughn

    Lets wait til he posts like 4 straight years of 3.00 ERAs before we anoint him the next Jason Schmidt. If anything, Ollie has shown that the only thing consistent about him is his inconsistency. I doubt he blossoms. He’s like Nuke Laloosh. Million Dollar Arm – 10 cent head.

  • http://mvn.com/mlb-pirates/ Randy Linville

    Welcome, Dave.
    Kip Wells also pitched a dandy tonight.
    The million dollar arm, 10 cent head is one of the greatest lines ever.

  • http://whereisvanslyke.blogspot.com Pat

    The problem is that Ollie has more like a $60 million arm.

  • http://pittsburghpiratescove.blogspot.com/ Dave Golebiewski

    I agree that we need to see Perez for an extended period of time to draw more definitive conclusions, but I HATE the principle of the Perez trade.
    If an organization is starving for premium talent, how can a trade that sends away a 25 year old lefthander who misses bats and has 2 plus pitches for a platoon outfielder be justified?

  • Vaughn

    Its pretty easy to miss bats when you’re not in the strike zone.
    And Nady is a useful player and will be for 3 more years. Its unclear whether Perez will ever be useful. Nady, lest you forget, was a huge power hitting prospect coming up, and just hasn’t blossomed yet. As he has shown early on, when he hits the ball, he can hit it really far. He could turn into something good, so its not like we traded him for Jeff Reboulet.