Gripe as you must about the current state of Major League Baseball, it never hurts to take a look back to 10 years ago and reflect on some of the things that we saw. Awful contracts, being burned by Bernie Madoff, and watching prime David Wright play for a mostly non-competitive team. Oddly enough, this is when my love of baseball truly began to take off. I started to enjoy the intricacies of the game, and appreciated more than just the star players on each team. This is where my love for intriguing players began, and Pedro Feliciano sits up there around the top of the list to me.
Unfortunately for younger Mets fans, Feliciano might become a name that gets glossed over in the history books of the team. Speaking on technicalities, Feliciano, Alay Soler, and Wright were the only members of that magical 2006 team to only ever suit up for the Mets. In that 2006 season, Feliciano displayed the talent that he had as a lefty specialist and chalked up his best season in terms of ERA, slinging a 2.09 in 60.1 innings pitched. Although he was elite that season, he is more likely to be remembered for his work in the following seasons, largely 2008-2010.
Over the span of the 2008-2010 seasons, the Mets finished a combined 238-248, a record that is greatly aided by the 89-73 finish in 2008. Over that same stretch, Feliciano led the National League in appearances. His appearances steadily increased through those seasons, as he went from 86 in 2008, to 88 in 2009, all the way up to 92 in 2010. Keep in mind, this was done when Feliciano was in his age 31, 32, and 33 seasons so his arm had already had some miles on it. Although Feliciano was mostly a LOOGY, in and out type of pitcher, he produced at an exceptional clip given how often he was trotted out onto the mound.
Over the course of his career, left-handed batters swung a measly .211 batting average against him. In over 799 at bats against lefties, Feliciano allowed only 11 home runs. He also proved to be a clutch pitcher, allowing only a .210 batting average when runners were in scoring position with two away. Due to the fact that Feliciano was such an effective luxury, and the Mets were not competitive at the time, he walked during the offseason before the 2011 season to the rival New York Yankees.
At what first seemed like a treacherous deal for Feliciano turned into a blunder for the Yankees. They signed him for two seasons at the price of eight million dollars, and he was primed to become a vital part of a team that was headed for the post season. Early on though, Feliciano began to feel soreness in his throwing arm. This soreness eventually led to the discovery that Feliciano had a torn anterior capsule and rotator cuff, which led to him not being able to pitch during his contract with the Yankees. The Yankees of course blamed Feliciano’s arm injuries to his workload with the Mets, although this was a very public fact.
Although it seemed at the time Feliciano’s departure seemed as if it might be devastating to the team, it was a blessing in disguise in the long term. When Feliciano departed, the Mets received a compensatory draft pick. This draft pick turned into Michael Fulmer, a promising pitcher that the Mets would eventually turn into Yoenis Cespedes. The Mets traded Fulmer and Luis Cessa to the Tigers for Cespedes in 2015. It could be said that, due to his pitching and his departure in free agency, Pedro Feliciano helped the Mets make their last two NLCS appearances.
Adorned by Mets fans as “Perpetual Pedro”, Feliciano was serviceable to the Mets for quite some time. Due to most of the teams he played for during his time, he will most likely be a footnote in the grand history of the New York Mets. After his career finished, the Mets did not see another comparable LOOGY until Jerry Blevins hit the mound for the Mets in 2015.
Thinking about baseball during the insane time that the world is going through is a welcomed distraction. The thoughts come to us while we are driving, while we are working, or simply just when we are taking a walk. It comes in the forms of grand memories like Daniel Murphy’s tear in the 2015 NLCS, or small ones such as the workhorse performances of Feliciano.
Feliciano was a lifetime Met.
He appeared in 92 games in 2010
He led the NL in appearances from 2008-2010