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.
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.