The Mets have removed Oliver Perez from consideration for a rotation job, and instead will take a look at him as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen. The article notes that Perez was throwing between 84 and 88 MPH in his Spring Training outing yesterday.
I'm not sure exactly what happened to Perez - from his inconsistent mechanics to his mental state, there are probably any number of factors that have contributed to his decline, many of which we can only guess at. (The mechanics are huge, though.) But he's a long way from his amazing 2004 season with the Bucs, when his fastball sat in the mid-90s and his filthy breaking stuff was a devastating contrast. If you had told me then that Perez would go on to be, say, an eight-time All-Star, I wouldn't have blinked an eye. But even in that season, he had 81 walks, and he had games like this one against the Rockies in which he picked up a win despite having seven walks, and this one against the Rangers, where he had 12 strikeouts and four walks in six innings while allowing three homers. The potential was clearly there for him to completely fall apart, and, well, he realized it.
Perez had a couple of seasons in 2007 and 2008 in which he was helpful despite the continuing problems with walks. The $36 million contract the Mets gave him after that looks ridiculous now, but at that time, Perez was 27 and was coming off two straight productive seasons, and his upside was even greater than that. There was, of course, an immense risk of collapse, and that's what happened, as Perez was terrible in 2009 and 2010, culminating with him refusing a minor-league assignment last year. I'm actually surprised they've stuck with him this long.