Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'd give Takahashi two but not Pedro...

Pedro Feliciano
Originally uploaded by Michael G. Baron
Let me start by saying no matter how valuable they are, I agree with the philosophy of not giving a reliever long term deals. If you had a stud reliever who was about to become a free agent, while he was still very young and at the top of his game my max offer is three years ( for example Krod). Most relievers I'm going year to year but in some cases I would be willing to give a two year deal.

The Mets have two lefty relievers who are eligible for free agency and while both relievers had very good years I would take different approaches in my attempts to retain them.

Pedro Feliciano has spent his entire major league career with the Mets which started all the way back in 2002. He credits his stint in Japan during the 2005 season for turning his career around and since then has been the workhorse of the pen. Since 2006 he has appeared in over 60 games and 50 innings per season, in the last three years his appearances have been over 80 games breaking club records each season.

Here's my concerns in regard to Pedro; that much use has to effect his arm negatively and the league has seen a lot of him which could result in diminished effectiveness. Compound those concerns with the fact that Pedro's peripheral numbers are worse then last year; hits (51/64), walks (18/27), HBP (0/5), ERA + (135/142), WHIP (1.16/1.48), H/9 (7.7/9.4), BB/9 (2.7/4.0), SO/BB (3.28/2.07) have all increased while SO (59/56) and SO/9 (8.9/8.2) have decreased.

Now maybe that's just him having a wild year and he'll been fine but maybe his accuracy is off from over use or he's trying to be too fine because he knows how much hitters have seen him and nibbling at the corners has resulted in the increased wildness. Regardless of why his accuracy is off one thing is true, as good as Pedro has been he is nothing more then a lefty specialist, every time he attempts to cross over and get out righties he struggles.

The Mets in the past have placed value on a player and then perceive a market for that player, which results in them making a knee jerk contract that is too long. The Mets are in the driver's seat with Pedro and should take advantage of it, offer him arbitration if he accepts you get a serviceable reliever for a year at a decent price and if he finds a team to give him a multi year deal you get a draft pick. With his peripherals and the workload he's carried in the same league for this long I don't want to be the team that gives him a 2-3 year deal.

However, Hisanori Takahashi is a completely different story. Despite being two years older I would offer Takahashi a two year deal. Now if someone gives him three years or promises to make him a starter then he's all theirs. The difference is that Takahashi can be a lefty specialist, close, cross over relieve, spot start, and long relief. He has at least another year before the league figures him out but with so many pitches he has plenty to make adjustments. Japan is a shorter season and despite being a starter for most his career his inning load was much less then a major leaguer.

While the Mets could replace a left handed specialist, the uncertainty of the pen makes Takahashi more valuable specifically to the Mets. With Krod's situation up in the air and Parnell still developing as a late inning reliever, having Takahashi to plug in as a closer or set-up man could be essential to the success of next year's team.

After this season there will be teams willing to go two for Takahashi and as long as it stays at two years I think he's a asset to be kept. By the way I don't expect anyone to offer him a deal as a starter because his numbers go through the roof the third time through the order, talk of looking for a starters job seems more like leverage for negotiations. On a new contract as long as he doesn't get another out clause the team who signs him would then get three years of arbitration.