As you all know by now, the Mets have released Hisanori Takahashi as per the special terms of the 1-year deal he signed last offseason. Takahashi is now a free agent, and at midnight tonight, he will be joined by fellow southpaw Pedro Feliciano.
Takahashi, 35, was said to be looking for a 3-year deal worth $15 million dollars. What lefty specialist Pedro Feliciano will be looking for has yet to be determined, but some reports having him signing a 3-year deal for no less than $12 million dollars, a hefty price tag indeed.
The Mets will most likely offer Feliciano arbitration which he will either deny earning the Mets a supplemental pick in next June’s MLB Draft, or he could accept and fetch approximately $4 million dollars. I think I’d rather have the draft pick, but even if he accepts arbitration, I wouldn’t be crushed by the decision as Feliciano is a heck of a specialist.
Even if Feliciano returns to the Mets next season, the team must still find a suitable replacement for Takahashi who in addition to his versatility and effectiveness, was also the second lefty in the bullpen.
While scanning the free agent list which kicks in about two hours from now, one name jumped out at me that would seem to be a perfect fit for the Mets. Let me see if you can guess which left-handed reliever I’m talking about. I’ll give you some hints…
- He held left-handed batters to a .202 batting average, better than either Takahashi or Feliciano.
- He led the AL with 85 appearances, and only allowed six extra-base hits to LH batters in 2010.
- His K/BB rate was an amazing 4.5 versus lefty hitters, better than either Takahashi or Feliciano.
- His overall WHIP of 1.29 complete blows Feliciano’s 1.53 WHIP out of the water.
- He earned $700K last season compared to $2.9MM for Feliciano.
It’s former Yankees draft pick and current Rays’ reliever Randy Choate.
It’s not a big or sexy name, but there is no doubt he gave the Tampa Bay Rays some major relief coming out of the pen last season.
If you think his season was a fluke, think again. In 2009, Choate made 61 appearances and posted a 3.47 ERA and 1.073 WHIP.
Some have estimated that Choate could sign a one or two year deal and fetch as much as $2.5 million dollars annually.
He’s definitely one of those low risk/high reward type guys that Omar Minaya used to love going after, and I think he would be a nice reliever to target whether Pedro Feliciano comes back or not.
What are your thoughts?