One of the first decisions the new Mets GM will have to make, is to decide whether he will simply let lefty specialist Pedro Feliciano walk and become a free agent, sign him to a multi year deal, or offer him arbitration.
“Perpetual Pedro” is quite possibly one of the most reliable and durable relievers in the game today. In fact, there’s no other reliever that comes even close to equaling him in terms of volume of work.
The Mets left-handed specialist appeared in his 89th game of the season on Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Brewers, breaking his own team record for most appearances in a season.
The very next day, a rain-out on Monday led to a twi-night double-header on Wednesday, and wouldn’t you know it, Perpetual Pedro pitched in both games.
Statistically, Feliciano is having a somewhat good season with a 3.21 ERA in 61.2 innings pitched, but I’m not thrilled with his extremely high 1.52 WHIP. He really should never be allowed to face any right-handed hitters ever, as they torched him for a .345 batting average and an .851 OPS in 118 mostly ugly at-bats.
However, against left-handed hitters, Feliciano is golden, and there is where his true value lies. This season he held 121 batters to a .205 batting average and just a .552 OPS.
Feliciano is a free agent after the season, and based on the scarcity of fine lefty specialists, he could command top dollar this offseason… or maybe not.
The Mets are actually in a great bargaining position from a leverage standpoint because as a Type A free agent, teams may not be very willing to part with a first round pick just to sign a 34-year old relief specialist for a season or two, no matter how good they are. This could play right into the Mets hands, and as recently yesterday Feliciano made it clear that he wishes to remain in New York.
“This is my home. This is where me and my family want to stay. I don’t want to play anywhere else.”
I’m not so sure the Mets will offer Feliciano arbitration and risk having to pay him $4 million dollars for the 2011 season. That’s a lot of clams for someone who can’t close or setup for you. I anticipate a prolonged game of chicken after the season ends followed by a meeting of both sides that could culminate in a two-year $6 million dollar deal.
After they get that done, then it’s on to Hisanori Takahashi who is also a free agent, but has served the Mets admirably in a variety of roles including starting pitcher, long man, setup man and closer. He may actually be worth more to the Mets in terms of pure value than Feliciano is, but in all honesty, concerted efforts should be made to sign both of them.
More on Takahashi in another post, but first things first, lets get Perpetual Pedro signed, sealed and delivered.