Exit, stage lefty

Since returning from the East in 2006, Perpetual Pedro has pitched in 408 of the Mets’ 810 games — 50.3%, or more than half. This means that if you have watched any single Mets game in the past five years, there is a better chance than not that you saw Pedro Feliciano pitch in it. Since the beginning of 2009, only David Wright, Luis Castillo, Angel Pagan, and Jeff Francoeur — position players — have played in more games for the Mets than the lefty specialist. If you’ve been a serious Mets fan in the fairly recent past, Pedro Feliciano has become a bigger part of your life than you may have realized. He has represented quiet stability for a relatively unstable organization, and he is probably leaving just as things are becoming stable.

The Mets not having Pedro Feliciano is going to be like those observation tower fly saucers disappearing. He’s just a situational lefty, and they’re just awkward pieces of Robert Moses’ sixties. Everything will function pretty much the same without them. But the first time Ryan Howard comes to the plate against the 2011 Mets in the seventh inning, it’s going to feel really weird.

Patrick Flood, PatrickFloodBlog.com.

Flood nails it here. It’s inarguably a good thing for the Mets that Pedro Feliciano declined arbitration today — with the front office now saying it will pay above slot for draft picks, the delicious sandwich-round pick is more valuable than a slightly overpaid lefty specialist. But it’s still going to feel really weird to watch so many Mets games without Pedro Feliciano in them.

At a game I was covering during the 2009 season (before it went to hell), the Mets called on Feliciano to face Howard and Ibanez with a runner on and no outs with a one-run lead in the eighth inning. He got Howard to ground into a double play and Ibanez to tap out weakly. Took him four pitches.

I waited in the Citi Field clubhouse to talk to him about it after the game, because I thought maybe he’d have something interesting to say about the inning, even if I didn’t have anything particularly interesting to ask.

Instead, he was just all, “yup, that’s my job — I get lefties out.” So I tried to follow up and ask him if he got especially excited to face a lefty like Howard, and he was like, “nah, not really, just gettin’ lefties out.”

It was awesome. And it made it seem really weird when he campaigned to be the “crossover” 8th-inning guy in the offseason.

Anyway, good luck to Perpetual Pedro wherever he lands. And good luck to Paul DePodesta with that sandwich-round pick. I suggest muffuletta. High upside.

5 thoughts on “Exit, stage lefty

  1. Back in 2006 I was working in ATL for a few weeks and we were staying in the same hotel as the Mets who were down for a weekend series against the Braves.

    We were hanging out in the Lobby when the team bus rolled in after the saturday game and Pedro strolls in wearing a pimped out light blue suit with Italian leather shoes. A few minutes later he (unknowingly) stole my seat on one of the couches in the lobby.

    2nd best thing that happened hanging out in the lobby bat later that night a few of the players and thier wives are chilling drinking some wine. Julio Franco, not even drinking is passed out cold asleep sitting at the end of the couch while Jose Valentin’s kids are basically wrecking havoc on the lobby around him.

  2. It will be really hard not to have Pedro coming in to destroy lefties, especially given that our nemeses the Phillies are so lefty-heavy. I do think we’ll notice his absence.

    It’s funny, your low-key Pedro story. I remember an article in probably the Times about him, which had him arriving home after a game he’d won, he tells his wife he got the win (how is the wife not watching!?! crazy) and she asks if he was interviewed on TV. He says, “nope.” We did take him for granted, and we will miss him.

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