Pedro Feliciano has never worn a major league uniform other than the Mets’ orange and blue.
That streak could continue in 2013.
Feliciano, a left-handed reliever who had signed a two-year, $8-million deal with the Yankees prior to the 2011 season, never threw a single pitch in pinstripes. After leading the National League in appearances in 2008, 2009 and 2010, Feliciano had major shoulder problems that left him on the disabled list for most of his Yankees tenure.
Monday, Feliciano agreed to a minor league deal with the bullpen-starved Mets. There’s no guarantee he makes the squad out of spring training, but the Mets, who had the second-worst bullpen ERA in baseball in 2012, desperately need relievers, especially a lefty like Feliciano.
Feliciano did appear in 10 games in the Yankees’ minor league system at the end of last year. In 9 1/3 innings with four different teams – Gulf Coast, Staten Island, Tampa and Trenton – Feliciano allowed nine hits, three runs and struck out 10 while walking three.
A 31st round draft pick of the Dodgers in 1995, Feliciano then landed as a free agent in Cincinnati and wound up in New York as part of the Shawn Estes trade in 2002. He was later claimed off waivers by the Tigers in late 2002, but was picked up by the Mets in April of 2003. He played in Japan in 2005 before returning to the Mets in 2006. He bounced around for more than a decade.
Yet when Feliciano returned to Flushing in 2006, he became one of the NL’s most reliable lefty specialists. He probably gives up too many hits (8.5 per nine innings, career average), probably walks too many guys (3.8 per nine) but he does strike out one batter an inning (8.2 per nine). If you dive a bit deeper into his splits, he’s held lefties to a .214 batting average against in his major league career, as compared to .283 against right-handed hitters.
Does he have anything left in the tank? If he does, the Mets might have themselves a steal in a lefty-on-lefty matchup guy in the late innings. If not, it’s not much of a risk.
Either way, he’ll always be remembered in the Bronx as American Idle, part two.
Any moves you think the Yankees or Mets should be making with less than one month to go before spring training? Any free agents out there worth a contract? Any trades you think might make sense? Let me know on Twitter: @THR_Montgomery.