Dwight Gooden… David Cone… what do these two have in common, besides the inability to control some of their basest urges? Both had great careers with the Mets, but went on to have the one shining moment of those careers in the Bronx. Coney’s perfecto and Doc’s no-no were both perfect cappers to great careers.
Well, add another very good Mets pitcher to the Yankees roster as Pedro Feliciano confirmed to ESPN that he’s indeed signing with the Yanks by saying “I think it was a good thing to stay in New York. I mean, that’s the best city in the States.” This is an EXCELLENT move for the Yankees in an off-season during which the best news for a Yankee happened when Nick Swisher tied the knot with actress/fiancee Joanna Garcia.
OK, well maybe Swish’s wasn’t the best news, but are you really gonna argue when it let me post a picture of Garcia?
But, I really do love the Feliciano move for many reasons. First, the AP is reporting that the lefty comes to the Yankees for 2 years and $8-million, which is way less than the always shaky Brian Fuentes reportedly wanted – supposedly in the 3-year, $15-mil range. Good luck to whoever gives Fuentes that. According to Joel Sherman of the Post, the Yanks liked Feliciano better than Fuentes for more than just his lower price tag. They liked the fact that Feliciano has performed, and performed well, in the bright spotlight of New York. And I’ve seen it first hand covering the Mets. Feliciano was a workhorse because he was asked to be. When the Mets didn’t have a closer after K-Rod was suspended for beating up his girlfriend’s father, Feliciano volunteered to close.
The one thing the Mets didn’t use Feliciano for, because the Mets could never do anything right, was as a lefty specialist. The Yankees can afford to use Feliciano in that role, which becomes even more important this season with Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford giving the Red Sox lineup a very potent, but left-handed slant (Unless these newest Sox are trying to fool everyone like the great Inigo Montoya). Feliciano will be a million times better than using Boone Logan in a tight spot as Joe Girardi was forced to do too often down the stretch last season. In fact, since 2006, Feliciano has the 2nd-lowest batting-average-against versus lefties at .209. The best in that category is surprisingly Oliver Perez. Although I guess it’s not really a surprise when you realize that lefties never knew where Perez was throwing, and even he never knew when he was just going to hit the Bull mascot.
And, like I said, the Mets never did ANYTHING right with Feliciano, allowing him to set and re-set and re-set again the team record for appearances the last three seasons (86 games in 2008, 88 in ’09 and 92 last season). Think real hard about those numbers the next time you’re complaining about Girardi over-using a pitcher. While some may worry that a workload like that makes Feliciano a risk, I say working him less will allow him to be even more effective than he was in Flushing. During one stretch in August and September Jerry Manuel threw Feliciano in 17 out of 20 games…each game more meaningless than the last, yet Feliciano never complained.
And, he doesn’t seem to worry about the workload affecting him this season either, telling ESPN, “Not at all…I work hard for every year. I don’t let down and just do what I did last year. I want to keep proving I can do more than what I did last year.”
Take it easy, Pedro. Now that you’re with a team that won’t need you every day, you can take a rest once in a while. Just try not to spend your time in the bullpen the way the great David Cone did.