The Mets have announced via their twitter feed that they have signed left-handed reliever Pedro Feliciano to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league Spring Training.
The 36-year-old lefty led the majors in games pitched for the Mets from 2008-2010, making an uncanny 266 appearances. He also held lefties to a sterling .214 career average, filling the role of LOOGY admirably.
Feliciano spent his entire eight-year career with the Mets before leaving via free agency following the 2010 season, when he signed a two-year, $8 million with the Yankees. In a surprise to no one, Feliciano broke down almost immediately. The diagnosis was ultimately a torn capsule and rotator cuff in his left arm, which would cause him to miss the entire 2011 and 2012 seasons.
The humorous part was the war of words that ensued between Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman and the Mets coaching staff. Via ESPN New York's Mike Mazzeo:
"[Feliciano] was abused," Cashman said. "It's a thin market when you're looking for lefties, and he's one of the better ones out there. But you don't typically go after a guy who's been used like that.
"The use pattern was abusive."
Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen said about the left-hander's heavy workload: "[The Yankees] didn't know that when they signed him? ... That was part of the reason we decided to not re-sign [Feliciano] -- because we knew we had used him 270-some times in the last three years."
My only question about this signing: What took so long? This move makes worlds of sense for all parties involved.
On the one hand, the Mets are likely looking to complement emerging lefties Josh Edgin and Robert Carson with a veteran presence. Based on their dealings this winter it looks like they'll be employing the quantity-over-quality approach, amassing a stable of journeymen on minor league deals/major league invites (see, Laffey, Rice, Feliciano).
On the other end, Feliciano is likely looking to re-establish his value; most 36-year-olds that haven't appeared in a major league game in two years don't garner that much attention. Lefty relievers, however, do have the tendency to be useful well into their thirties. Hell, the pitcher Feliciano would basically be replacing -- Tim Byrdak -- is 39 himself.
Feliciano recently posted a 1.23 ERA in seven appearances in the Puerto Rican Winter League, but even if his arm is in a worn-out, flubber-like state, the sentimental value of watching him lace it up one more time this spring has some value. At least to me.
Well played Sandy.