Last week we quoted an article from Alden Gonzalez who first reported that Mets left-handed reliever Pedro Feliciano wanted to be considered for the eighth-inning setup role.
“I just want to be the setup man,” Feliciano said prior to his club’s game against the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium, which resulted in a 2-1 loss. “I don’t want to be the lefty specialist. … I want to be the setup man. I want to be the eighth-inning guy, and I want to prove to the organization that I can pitch to righties like I pitch to lefties.”
Now that we’ve all had time to let that sink in a little bit, and that goes for the Mets decision makers as well, maybe it’s not as far-fetched an idea as we may have first thought.
The Mets search for a setup reliever has bore little fruit this spring, and one by one each of the potential the candidates gave us cause for concern with none stepping up to claim the sought after role. So why not Feliciano?
The venerable Marty Noble penned an article on Tuesday that suggested that the Mets are in fact now considering Pedro Feliciano for the setup job, and some believe that it’s already a done deal.
Because none of the candidates for the pre-Francisco Rodriguez assignment has distinguished himself in this camp and the competition was likely to have been determined by default, the Mets have turned to Pedro Feliciano.
“I can do that job,” Feliciano said Monday afternoon. “I want to do that job. I’m here to pitch. I’m here to win. I can be a setup man instead of the supposed left-handed specialist. I’m ready for it now. I don’t care what right-handed hitters they bring up. I’ll just do my job.”
You have to admire his tenacity and his willingness to want to do more for the team. He wants the ball and at this point, why shouldn’t we give it to him?
He has served us well pitching primarily as a left-handed specialist, but maybe the time has come to expand his role on this team.
His splits against right handed batters would indicate that this experiment could end up being an epic fail, but those are just stats, and this springs version of Feliciano seems more determined than we ever seen him before. He really wants the job, and it looks like he won’t be happy until he gets it.
It looks like Jerry Manuel is open to the idea, but not yet fully committed to it. He seems to be leaning toward a setup role by committee. It still might give Feliciano the opportunity he needs to show what he can do and eventually keep the job for himself. There’s a good chance that he could have turned a corner as a pitcher and is now confident in his ability to get right handers out. At least he sure sounds that way. Feliciano does deserve a shot at the job more than anyone else we have in the bullpen right now. He’s earned at least that. Give him a half dozen opportunities once the season starts and lets keep our fingers crossed.
You can’t underestimate the power of good old fashioned drive and determination.