- Andrew Marchand, ESPN Senior Writer
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"I want to be back here," Perez told ESPNNewYork.com. "I want to have a championship because I know the fans want it and I want it, too."
Perez, 0-4 with a 6.70 ERA, likely has little choice. With one more season left on his three-year, $36 million contact, the Mets will find it very difficult to entice a club to take Perez unless they pay all or most of Perez's salary, something they have been hesitant to do in the past.
Perez, who has become the face of the Mets' struggles, has not pitched in a major league game in nearly two weeks. With the Mets tabbing him as a DNP-manager's decision on most nights, he has thrown a total of 4 1/3 innings since the middle of May, which has left the team with essentially a 24-man roster, while their opponents play with the normal 25.
The Mets' actions show they seem to have little desire to keep Perez as a member of the team. Still, when asked if the Mets want Perez back next year, Mets GM Omar Minaya wouldn't give a direct answer.
"We have him," said Minaya, who may or may not be the GM by next season.
The Mets have Perez for one more year, but they are not using him. Perez said he is likely going to pitch in the Mexican Winter League to build up his arm strength.
While he seems relaxed talking in the Mets clubhouse, he is acutely aware of how displeased the fans are that he is not helping the team win.
"I know the people, they are not happy," Perez said. "I just tell the fans I've been working hard to get back. I didn't sign here to sit here and just wait. I signed here because I think we have the opportunity to try and win a championship. That is why I signed here."
When asked if Mets fans had a right to be unhappy with him, Perez leaned on the fact that he is working hard.
"Sometimes you don't have to think about the other people," Perez said. "You have to try and get better, try and understand. Try to get back where I was before. I've been doing everything I can."
Minaya appears to be in danger of being reassigned from his position or fired largely because of some of the bad contracts during his watch. The worst might be Perez's. Still, Minaya thinks the lefty might have a comeback in him.
"Guys go through this, but you hope that guys bounce back," Minaya said. "There have been guys who have bounced back. [Cubs starter Carlos] Silva bounced back. We hope that [Perez] bounces back. That's what it boils down to."
Perez, who just turned 29, doesn't think he needs to talk to Minaya, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon or anyone else to plead for another chance. He just thinks they have to decide to put him in a game.
"I'm not the one who has the last decision," Perez said. "I think you have to ask them."
If Minaya remains the GM, what does he imagine Perez's role will be in spring training? Could he compete for a starting spot? Could he find himself in the same limbo as this season? Minaya is not looking that far down the road.
"It's too early right now," Minaya said.
Perez said he wants to be back. In the end, he might not have a choice unless the Mets swallow a whole lot of money.
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