Cool things about Mike Pelfrey

The Mets said goodbye to another, less-heralded member of the 2012 Opening Day starting rotation yesterday when Mike Pelfrey signed a one year, $4 million contract with the Twins. Incentives included in the deal mean Pelfrey could earn up to $5.5 million, which puts into perspective how much of a steal R.A. Dickey is at $5 million. Also, the Dickey trade could have opened up a rotation spot for Pelfrey to start 2013 if the Mets wanted to bring him back, but presumably they wouldn’t have paid him what the Twins did and for all we know he wanted to get the hell out.

pelfcookAnyway, with Pelfrey’s departure, it seems appropriate to for once stop lamenting all the things he is not and celebrate the cool things about Mike Pelfrey. I mentioned a bunch of these a couple weeks ago, but I figured I’d hash them out a bit better. Here are some:

- He introduced me to the term “the yips.” Before Pelfrey balked three times in one game in 2009, I don’t think I had ever heard anyone refer to “the yips.” But it’s a great phrase, and perfect to describe what happened that day.

- He’s pretty funny.

- He’s braver than he gets credit for. Pelfrey spoke openly about consulting a sports psychologist because he wanted to combat the stigma against psychology in sports. The same psychologist treated Greg Maddux and Roy Halladay, both of whom are frequently praised for their bulldog mentalities. But Pelfrey’s reward for admitting it was constant undermining of his mental health whenever anything went wrong.

- He was remarkably consistent, year over year. I’ve joked that you could set your watch to Pelfrey’s xFIP. His ERA bounced around, but his peripherals stayed the same. Across Pelfrey’s four full big-league seasons from 2008 to 2011, he struck out exactly five batters per nine innings and walked exactly three. His lowest strikeout rate was 4.9 and his highest was 5.2. His lowest walk rate was 2.9 and his highest was 3.2. Pelf gonna Pelf, as we say.

- He warmed up to Nirvana’s Unplugged cover of “Lake of Fire.” Doesn’t seem like a traditional choice for walk-up music, but it’s a good groove and Pelfrey wore it well. A guy from Kansas could easily go country with it, so credit Pelf for bringing grunge to the park.

- One time he spent a few minutes talking to me about sandwiches. He pronounces bologna like “bo-low-nya.” It’s great. He’s a really nice dude.

- This happened:

- So did this.

- This zombie face, too:

I can say (and have already said) without hesitation that I’ll be rooting for Mike Pelfrey as hard as I will any ex-Met not named Carlos Beltran.

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