The New York Mets made an interesting move this offseason when they signed Pedro Feliciano to a minor league contract after Feliciano spent two years away from the organization. During that time Feliciano didn’t pitch at all in the big leagues due to injuries. However, today the Mets announced that Feliciano would not be on their opening-day roster, which for them is the right move to make.
Feliciano has performed well this spring, giving up just one run in 4.1 innings of work over eight appearances. After missing some time while he had a heart condition investigated, Feliciano did what he was supposed to do: get lefties out. He pitched like the guy the Mets over-used in their bullpen for years. However, despite pitching effectively during Grapefruit League games, Feliciano’s velocity has been down this spring, usually sitting in the low 80’s, which is a far cry from where his velocity has been in the past. Such a significant dip in velocity is a red flag for the Mets. Feliciano may have been able to get away with a low velocity fastball during spring training games, but there’s no guarantee that he’d be able to continue to get batters out in the regular season, especially after just a few innings of work in March. In the position they’re currently in, the Mets can’t afford to bring Feliciano north with them if they don’t trust him and there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to regain his fastball velocity.
The Mets were certainly right to give Feliciano a chance, as they had nothing to lose by bringing in a lefty reliever that they’re familiar with to try to improve their bullpen. But after seeing the lack of arm strength from Feliciano this spring, they were right to leave him off the opening day roster. Instead, youngster Robert Carson will likely be the second Mets lefty in the bullpen, behind Josh Edgin. The door is open for Feliciano to go to the minors and build up his arm strength, but until he throws harder and the Mets have confidence in his abilities, they’re right to move forward into the regular season without him.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him to your network on Google+.