The good news is that the Mets have a 3-time Cy Young with an MVP and 2 second place MVP finishes to their spring training camp. The bad news is that at 74, Sandy Koufax is still better than most of the pitchers in Mets camp. Brought in to help the disaster that is Oliver Perez, the Mets are desperately hoping that Koufax can somehow resurrect their once-promising left-hander to respectability, if only to minimize the damage from his $36m contact.
Sandy isn't the only one working hard on Perez, Johan Santana has also spent significant time already with the wild Perez, hoping to find something, ANYTHING, that will help him regain his 2004 form when he struck out 239 in 196 innings.
Koufax, who went to high school with Mets owner Fred Wilpon and remains a close friend, was asked to come help and so down to Port St. Lucie he went. Considering that Koufax also struggled with his control early in his career (walking 100 in 175 innings in 1960) before becoming one of the greatest pitchers of all time, Sandy seems like an ideal tutor for Perez.
"People pay too much attention to delivery," Koufax explains, "Pitching is precision throwing. Sometimes delivery is overrated. You don't want to change what you do. Delivery shouldn't interfere with your ability to throw. You make it a simple situation so you can retain it. You don't want it to be something different every time you throw. If I can help somebody I'm happy to. I don't have all the answers. Nothing works for everybody. It's a question of trying it. Every pitcher should try everything to find out what works for him."
"Warren Spahn used to say the plate is 17 inches wide and 15 belong to the hitter. Santana doesn't use that 15 that belong to the hitter very often."
I like this move a lot by the Mets, after all, they have nothing to lose, Perez has already hit rock-bottom when he was sent to AAA last season, and if they are going to get any value out of him they need to fix whatever is wrong. If Koufax can't fix him, he's probably broken forever.