Without any inside knowledge about Pedro Feliciano’s personality or attitude toward New York, I have to imagine he is thrilled to be nearing free agency. That’s because over the last few seasons Feliciano has received fewer days off than the postal service. If he goes to another team, maybe he’ll be able to relax every once and a while.
Drafted by the Dodgers in 1995, the 31st round pick never appeared in the majors before signing with the Reds as a minor league free agent in 2001. Almost a year later, the Reds sent Feliciano to the Mets in a trade that also saw Brady Clark and Shawn Estes moved. Feliciano made his major league debut weeks later but the Mets placed him on waivers nearly three months to the day of acquiring him. The Tigers won the claim and then released him at the three-month anniversary too.
The Mets signed Feliciano once more and he made 23 appearances for them as a 26-year-old. After 2004, in which he saw 22 games but only 18 innings, the organization sold him to a team in Japan. Feliciano returned to the Big Apple in 2006, again with the Mets, and he has averaged 68 appearances per season since. It’s not just that Feliciano showed a rubber arm in one season either. His outings totals have increased in each subsequent season, although his innings pitched have not correlated perfectly.
His next appearance will mark a single season high 89th and that’s during a lost campaign for the Mets. One can only wonder if Jerry Manuel would flick his left wrist for Feliciano 100 times if it meant trying to keep up in a heated divisional race. Yet, Feliciano has been there each time, even though it’s meant zero days rest on 42 occasions.
One thing left unnoted is that Feliciano throws with his left arm. In his excellent book, Diamond Dollars, Vince Gennaro suggested that left-handed pitchers receive more pay than righties on the free agent market. I am unsure if that goes for relievers as well as starters, but Feliciano’s career .278 on-base percentage against same handed batters makes him a LOOGY delight. His numbers against righties the last few years suggest he’s probably best off facing lefties, which make his platoon numbers in 2007 look a bit weird.
Season – Percentage of Plate Appearances Versus LHB
2006 – 50%
2007 – 41%
2008 – 50%
2009 – 64%
2010 – 50%
Feliciano is in the midst of a career best season. If Manuel somehow returns as Mets’ manager, you have to think he’d want him back. If not because he’s good, just because he knows his name. Otherwise, some team in need of a left-handed set-up man will probably give Feliciano a multiple year deal and bank off his ability to stay healthy and active.