Through all the twists and turns the New York Mets have taken over the past four years, one factor has always remained constant.
That particular factor is relief pitcher, Pedro Feliciano.
Feliciano, who has been a mainstay in the Mets bullpen since his second tour of duty with the team began in 2006, has proven to be one of the most reliable relievers in the National League over the past couple of years.
Feliciano appeared in 88 games, which broke his already impressive career high of 86, that was set in 2008.
Despite the fact that he also pitched six more innings than the previous season, Feliciano managed to lower his ERA by more than one full run to 3.03.
The question here is not whether or not Pedro should be back in 2010, but rather whether or not he is worthy of a multi-year contract extension?
It wasn’t all that long ago that there were rumblings of Feliciano seeking a three year contract extension that would buy out his final arbitration year next year, and cover two years of free agency.
This past season, Feliciano received $1.6 million for his services. According to Fangraphs, his performance last year warranted him $2.9 million.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see that number jump over at least the two million dollar mark next year when he is due for one final raise before he is set to hit the open market.
The contract may seem a bit excessive considering that there are tons of quality relievers available every year during the off-season. However, it is never a guarantee that they are going to perform as advertised.
Just look at Will Ohman last season with the Dodgers, who finds himself a free agent yet again after being plagued by injuries all year long.
With so many question marks heading into next year, the Mets cannot afford to have a weak bullpen or else it could be a repeat of the dreaded 2008 campaign.
All things set aside, the dollar amount is very reasonable considering that Feliciano is arguably the second most valuable asset in the bullpen next to Francisco Rodriguez.
Final Verdict: I am not a proponent of giving out long-term deals, by any means, especially for relievers. However, it is quite evident that Feliciano’s success with the organization is no fluke, as he has been very solid year in and year out.
If given the option, though I would shoot for a two-year extension, worth five or six million dollars.
Keeping the contract length reasonable enables the contract to be moved in the event the team wants to trade the reliever.
Also, at the conclusion of the deal Feliciano would be 35 years-old and the team could then make a determination on what to do from there.