The Washington Nationals have signed Oliver Perez to a minor league deal, has learned.

The Mets released Perez earlier in the week and are still responsible for almost all his $12 million salary. The minor league deal presumably would pay Perez the major league minimum for the time Perez is in the majors, leaving the Mets with almost the entire bill regardless of Perez's standing.

When the Mets released him, Perez was trying to make the team as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen, which scouts agree is probably the best role for him at this point. He had been a starter for years but was moved to the bullpen last season and finished the year 0-5 with a 6.80 ERA after going 3-4 with a 6.82 ERA in 2009.

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