At least the Mets didn't sign Derek Lowe

Joel Sherman on a decision that could have been ... well, not worse. But still pretty awful:

Obviously, the Mets’ signing of Oliver Perez has not worked out. But it should be kept in mind that the other pitcher the Mets were weighing at the time was Derek Lowe. The Mets refused to give more than a three-year offer for Lowe, who instead signed with Atlanta for four years at $60 million. The Mets heard familiar refrains about being cheap and ending up with at three years at $36 million because of that.

But since becoming a Brave, Lowe has shown signs of decline with his 37th birthday approaching in June. He has a good record with Atlanta at 18-11. But his ERA in his 38 Braves starts is 4.73, and opponents have hit .298 with a .356 on-base percentage and a .444 slugging percentage.

I'm not sure if, "Gee, the other guy we wanted has been almost as bad" is a great defense. Isn't the right answer to not spend a huge amount of money on either of them?

In his four years with the Dodgers, Lowe's ERA was 3.59, with a 2.63 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In those 38 starts for Atlanta, that 4.73 ERA is accompanied by a 1.62 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He's still keeping the ball down -- his home-run rate has been virtually the same with the Braves as it was with the Dodgers -- but his walks are up and his strikeouts are down, and the result is an innings-eater with a high ERA.

Maybe he'll turn it around, but we're 217 innings into his tenure. And of course there are a lot more innings to come, with Lowe under contract (for big dough) through 2012.

So, yeah: the Mets were probably right about Derek Lowe. But they were probably wrong about Oliver Perez, who led the National League in walks the season before he got his current deal, and is well on his way to leading the league in walks this season. Maybe the right answer is to save your money for sure things.