Oliver (Martinez) Perez was Born on August 15, 1981 in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico. He originally signed in the Mexican League at 16 years old but did not pitch. The six foot three left hander was signed as an amateur free agent by the San Diego Padres in 1999. At the start of his career he had a good fastball & was a big strike out pitcher. In 2001 he struck out 160 batters in 154 innings pitched going 10-9 at A ball.
In 2002 he blew up the ranks from A ball to AA, to AAAA debuting in the major leagues on June 16th. He won his first two starts beating the Seattle Mariners & the AL New York club, striking out ten batters in eleven innings. He wound up 4-5 on the year with a 3.50 ERA. He went 4-7 the next season but struck out 117 batters in 103 innings. in San Diego before the Padres traded him on August 26, 2003 along with Jason Bay to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Brian Giles. The rest of the year he fell to 0-3.
In 2004 he had his best season on a fifth place Pirate team that lost 89 games. On April 25th he struck out ten Cincinnati Reds pitching a six hit shut out starting out a great year. He was the top pitcher on his staff going 12-10 with a 2.98 ERA (6th in the NL). He had the league’s best strike out per nine inning ratio at 10.975 with 239 strikeouts (4th in the NL) in 196 innings pitched. His 239 strike outs are the third most in a single season by a Pirates pitcher, Bob Veale fanned more on two separate occasions. Perez also walked 81 batters & allowed 21 HRs.
In 2005 he was plagued with injuries & missed over two months after a June loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. He kicked a cart breaking his toe, he returned in September to finish up 7-5 with a 5.85 ERA.
In 2006 he had lost something off his fastball, as he dropped to 2-10 with a 6.63 ERA. On July 31st the Pirates gave up on him & sent him to the New York Mets along with Roberto Hernandez in exchange for Xavier Nady.
The Mets needed pitching help due to injuries especially in the bullpen help when Duaner Sanchez went down. Perez began at AAA Norfolk, and then made his first Mets start on August 26th allowing five runs to the Philadelphia Phillies in five innings of work at Shea Stadium earning no decision. He lost three of his first four Mets decisions. His best outing was a five hit complete game shutout in the night cap of a double header against the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium on September 5th.
Post Season: Ollie did not see action in the NLDS but was needed to help out an injured staff in the NLCS. Although he allowed five runs in 5.2 innings in Game #4 against the St. Louis Cardinals, he earned the win as the Mets scored twelve runs in their 12-5 victory. He returned to get the start in the big Game #7 & pitched well. Perez allowed just one run on four hits with four strike outs leaving the game in a 1-1 ties in the 6th inning. The Mets couldn’t score & lost it in the 9th inning.
In 2007 Rick Peterson seemed to have worked well with Perez, and there was a lot of pressure on him to succeed. He began by beating the Braves in Atlanta allowing just one run over seven innings of work at Turner Field. In May he pitched into the 7th inning or beyod four of six starts & went 4-1 in the month posting a 2.69 ERA. He was a bit better than .500 through July going 9-7 but then pitched his best during the two months of the season.
He went 6-3 in August & September, having one of his best outings on August 24th at Shea Stadium when he pitched seven shutout innings allowing just three hits to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Also in August he opened & closed the month out with double figure strike out games. On August 1st he struck out 11 Brewers in Milwaukee & on August 29th he struck out ten Phillies at Philadelphia.
His win on September 22nd still had the Mets up by 1.5 games but his loss on September 28th took the Mets out of a first place tie & one game back with two left to play. The lost the final game of the season & were eliminated from the post season. Perez had his ups & down during the year but was good enough to tie John Maine for most wins on the staff (15) going 15-10 with the teams second best ERA among starters (3.56 which was 9th best in the NL) He posted 174 strikeouts (10th in the NL) with 79 walks in 177 innings pitched.
In 2008 things all fell apart for Perez, at any given point he could get rattled & allow a big inning. He began the year well, pitching six shutout innings in the third game of the season, earning a win in Florida against the Marlins. He began the year at 2-0 but lost three straight from there.
On April 30th in Pittsburgh all hell broke loose against the Pirates as he walked five, allowed seven runs (two earned) & exited in the second inning. On June 2nd in San Francisco the Giants scored six runs on five hits & a pair of walks, as Perez exited that one in the first inning. In other outings that moth he allowed four runs against the Angels of Anaheim & then six runs against the Seattle Mariners.
There were a few outings where he did show his old form, one was On June 29th he pitched seven inning allowing just one run in the subway series at Shea Stadium, earning himself a win. On July 6th he pitched seven shutout innings against the Phillies earning a victory. It was the first time since his first two starts of the season that he did not allow any runs; he would only do that once more the rest of the year.
At the end of July he also had a 12 strikeout performance against the Phillies at Shea Stadium. In September as the Mets faltered Perez did as well after starting out the month with a win he had no other decisions along the way. His best outing was the last game of the season in the final game of Shea Stadium’s history. He allowed just two runs striking out six Marlins exiting in the 6th inning, but was not the pitcher of record as the Mets tied it in the bottom of the inning before losing it later on.
On the year Perez was 10-7 leading the league with 34 starts, as well as walks (105) hitting 11 batters with pitches, striking out 180 while posting a 4.22 ERA.
In February of 2009 the Mets gave him a three year deal that shocked everyone.
He started the third game of the 2009 season in Cincinnati & the Reds clobbered him with eight runs by the 5th inning. In a game at the end of the month he allowed seven runs to the Washington Nationals at Citi Field & he was hearing if from the fans, the media & just about anybody around. He then went on the DL & missed two months of action. He returned in July & won his first start, a five inning three run performance against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In that game he walked seven and would allow at least four walks or more in his next five starts. He pitched two good outings on the August West Coast trip but earned no decisions.
On August 23rd he was shelled in the first inning allowing six runs, on four hits & two walks to the Phillies. It was his last outing as he ended the year on the disabled list again. In 2009 he was 3-4 with a 6.82 ERA, he struck out 62 batters & walked 58 in 66 innings pitched.
In 2010 his days were numbered, he went 0-3 with an ERA near six when manager Jerry Manuel moved him to the bullpen in mid May.
Perez was doomed, first he refused to go to the minor leagues to work on his pitching. He soon got injured & when he returned he again refused to go to the minors to work things out. He ended the year at 0-5 with a 6.80 ERA allowing 35 earned runs & 42 walks in 46 innings pitched. Fittingly enough, he took a loss on the final game of the season, coming in relief in the 14th inning.
In Spring Training of 2011 the Mets new regime of management gave him his unconditional release eating the $4.2 million owed to him. In his Mets career Perez was 29-29 in 101 appearances with a 4.71 ERA, 494 strike outs & 628 walks in 520 innings.
He signed a deal with the Washington Nationals & was 3-5 with a 3.09 ERA at AA Harrisburg for 2011.
In his big league career Perez was 58-69 with 1126 strike outs 628 walks 56 hit batters a 4.63 ERA in 1111 innings in 206 games.