Yanks interested in lefty reliever Feliciano


Guys who throw like this and don't crack 90 typically have a tough time with righties (Tony Dejak/AP)

At the GM meetings this week, Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd said something that made me think of a situation the Yankees currently face. “But we’re not looking for the best player; we’re looking for the right player.” That might sound odd at first — isn’t the best player most often the right player? When it comes to team building, that’s not always the case. Every team has constraints. The Rockies probably can’t afford to sign a big-ticket free agent. While the Yankees can do that, they can’t afford to do other things. Among them is giving up all of their draft picks.

The point about draft picks came up in the Scott Downs post. He is easily the best left-handed reliever on the free agent market, but he’s not the best for the Yankees. Whether or not the Yankees sign Cliff Lee, or another Type A free agent, the cost of sacrificing another draft pick for Downs just isn’t worth the benefits he brings. The Yankees always pick low, and they haven’t had a supplemental pick in years now. To push their first pick into the triple digits just doesn’t sound like a good idea.

This morning Newsday’s Ken Davidoff mentioned that the Yankees are interested in Pedro Feliciano. That sounds interesting enough. Most of us are familiar with Feliciano because of his long tenure with the Mets; other than a stint in Japan during the 2005 season he has spent his entire career in Queens. He’s regarded as a quality lefty who can take the ball every day — his 92 appearances was the most in the league by seven. This might make him appear to be a viable option for the 2011 bullpen, but there is plenty that works against Feliciano.

What first jumps out is his walks. In three of the last four years he has walked 4.3 per nine, which is something you absolutely do not want out of any pitcher, never mind a lefty specialist. As Mike noted on today’s podcast, a good number of those are intentional. He issued intentional passes to six hitters in 2010, which would bring his walk rate down to 3.45 per nine. This trend continues back throughout his career. It does, in some way, mitigate the high walk rate. On the other hand, it speaks to another deficiency.

Feliciano is simply no good against right handers. All of those intentional walks in years past were issued to righties. This is unsurprising. We often see lefty relievers walk a righty in between two lefties. That’s the strategy some managers play. The intentional walks do indicate that Feliciano’s control isn’t as bad as his walk rate would have you believe. But it means, at the same time, that he’s putting more men on base. He certainly has the ability to strand those intentionally walked batters, as he is death on lefties. In 2010 he had a 9.55 K/10 and 2.73 BB/9 against lefties while not allowing a home run. That would be even better if he didn’t face more righty batters than lefties.

If the Yankees were to use Feliciano solely against left-handed hitters, maybe he’d work out. His career numbers against them are tremendous. He’s also a Type B free agent and so would not cost the team a draft pick. What he will cost is money. He will be 34 next season, so this is his chance to secure his future with a long-term contract. I suspect he’ll seek something along the lines of Damaso Marte‘s three-year, $12 million deal. I also suspect some team will acquiesce to that demand. I just hope it’s not the Yankees. If they’re looking for a lefty reliever who is terrible against lefties there are other options — Randy Choate, for one. At least he’ll be cheap and come on a short-term deal. Feliciano might be better, but he likely won’t be worth the years and money. The Yanks can find their lefty elsewhere.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. bonestock94 says:

    3/12 for a second LOOGY? No thanks.

    • Avi says:

      I totally agree. I wouldn’t touch Feliciano. I’d much rather have an effective righty like a Benoit, Balfour or even Jon Rauch than have a second decent LOOGY.
      Also if you’re gonna give Feliciano $3M a year wouldn’t you rather pay the extra 1 to 1.5M and have Scott Downs?
      Downs @ $4.5M and a pick at about #100 >>>> Feliciano @ $3M and a pick at about #70..

      • Downs @ $4.5M and a pick at about #100 >>>> Feliciano @ $3M and a pick at about #70..

        Even if the financial compensation is completely equivalent (say, either Downs or Feliciano at 3M with identical contract lengths), I’d still rather have Feliciano and the pick than Downs and no pick.

        That extra really good prospect we’ll draft at #85 (which is closer to where it will be) is in all likelihood going to be a guy much better than who’ll be there at #115.

        I’ll give up a pick for Cliff Lee. I’m not giving up a pick for the tiny marginal upgrade between Downs and Feliciano.

  2. JDDZip says:

    Who cares about him! The yankees are interested in Upton, trade gardy get upton. go go go! Hard to believe Gardner is actually 27, and Upton is only 23!

    • Slugger27 says:

      i can’t even tell who’s being serious and who isn’t anymore

    • Operation Killer B's says:

      I would like to have Upton but he will cost a lot in prospects. However maybe not Montero since the D-Backs have a Montero of their own who is quite good when healthy.

    • Mattchu12 says:

      Dunno if you’re being serious, but if so:

      I’m not accepting anything less than Montero, Gardner, and probably one of the Killer B’s for Upton at that deal and age if I’m Kevin Towers.

      • Operation Killer B's says:

        I’m serious, if I’m Towers I know that there are concerns about Montero staying behind the plate and I already have a good young catcher. I’m asking for two killer b’s, Gardner, Adams and Laird. I realize that Montero is a great prospect but from an NL perspective if he doesnt stay behind the plate I’ve got no DH for him to play at.

        • Mattchu12 says:

          I was referring to JDDZip.

          But I see what you’re saying, but I’ll also point out that they have first base open to play Montero. If I’m Towers, I’m not going to shy away from Montero for position concerns, his bat is just too damn good to pass up. You have to take Montero in an Upton trade.

          • Operation Killer B's says:

            Oh sorry for the misunderstanding. However your right about first base, he could play there but pitching is the major problem for Arizona and taking two of Brackman/Banuelos/Betances along with Gardy and one of Laird/Adams would possibly be better in the long run then just taking Montero, Gardy and of the Killer B’s.

            • Mattchu12 says:

              I just can’t pass on Montero. I’d rather take Montero and two of the Killer B’s than any deal without Montero, even Two Killer B’s + Gardner + Laird/Adams.

              And that’s why I pass on Upton.

              • Operation Killer B's says:

                If I’m Cashman and Towers ask for Montero AND two of the Killer B’s I’m hanging up, Upton is good but not worth that much of our future.

                • Mattchu12 says:

                  Agreed, but Towers has to demand that. And someone will give him a deal that is very comparable. Count on it. Upton is crazy talented.

                  • Operation Killer B's says:

                    Very true but what other teams can offer packages comparible to that…Granted Arizona already spurned the Yankees for Joe Sanders but Towers is smarter then Josh Byrnes.

                    • Mattchu12 says:

                      A lot of great farm systems out there.

                      The Braves will have the pitching pieces now that the Marlins just hosed themselves, Uggla for a utility man and a LOOGY? Really?

                      I can see a lot of teams getting involved.

              • Philthy65 says:

                True but a package of Betances, Gardner, Laird and someone not as highly thought of in the org for Upton doesnt seem completely irrational

        • Shaun says:

          That much for Upton, I don’t care how good he is. I’d tell Towers “Fuck you, I’m goin home”

  3. I am not the droids you're looking for says:

    Huh? Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!

  4. Jimmy McNulty says:

    Use Manny as the LOOGY.

    • Mattchu12 says:

      I’m imagining Manny Ramirez pitching, and I don’t know how to thank you for the thoughts you have put into my head.

  5. radnom says:

    I suspect he’ll seek something along the lines of Damaso Marte‘s three-year, $12 million deal. I also suspect some team will acquiesce to that demand.

    I think this is actually incorrect on both counts and I’ll tell you why. Marte signed that deal with a longstanding trackrecord as a solid setup guy – he only became a LOOGY after the injury really. Apples and oranges. Feliciano will probably sign for much less. As for if that will be with the Yankees or not – ‘meh’.

  6. Mark L. says:

    So your LOOGY of choice remains Choate?

    Probably wouldn’t hurt to throw some mL deals at guys like Tallet, Mahay and Shouse – just as likely to get some decent splits and you pay a lot less

  7. FIPster Doofus says:

    “If they’re looking for a lefty reliever who is terrible against lefties there are other options — Randy Choate, for one.”

    Agreed, Joe, though I’m sure you meant “terrible against righties.” As the cheaper option, Choate is the way to go if the Yankees are looking for another LOOGY. Just keep him away from right-handed hitters.

  8. Greg says:

    I’d take Mike Hampton on minor league contract and invite to spring training. There is your next LOOGY.

  9. Ed in SF says:

    A number of things make me wonder if there’s fire as well as smoke around Upton and the Yankees.

    First, new D’Backs GM Kevin Towers spent the last year with the Yankees, and probably has a pretty good sense of what he likes in their minor league system.

    Second, the Yankees could send back Swisher, who is a very solid right fielder who actually was more productive than Upton last year and may not cost much more given Upton’s contract situation.

    Put 1+1 together, and maybe there’s a Swisher + 1 of Brackman/Betances/Banuelos to discuss. Or maybe Swisher + 2 other prospects of Towers’ liking.

    Seems like there could be something there…

    • bigjuan says:

      You do realize that Swisher is 30 and Upton is 23 right?

      • Ed in SF says:

        I do realize that. But he’s not your typical 23 year old. He comes with a 5 year $51 million price tag. Last year he regressed a bit OPSing only .799 and striking out 152 times. So your not talking about a 23 year old making something close to the minimum – you’re talking about a guy whose about to get paid like he’s a sure thing. And if it turns out he’s not, the D’Backs would be on the hook from 2012-15 for over $45 million over 4 years.

        Swisher would give them solid performance with a shorter commitment, but the real opportunity for Towers would be to replace Upton’s current production while also adding a couple pieces from a system he knows well. So maybe it’s not Swisher + 1, maybe it’s Swisher + 2 top 10 prospects, but Towers gets to manage his risk while replacing that production in the immediate term and creating a couple/few more options for the future that he doesn’t have to pay like sure things.

  10. Mark L. says:

    I imagine Gardner would go to the D-backs in any deal, they are desperate for OBP. I also imagine they’d want one of the B boys as well as someone who can help them immediately, such as Nova.

  11. Mattchu12 says:

    I’ll get a hard time for saying it, but I’d rather try Kei Igawa out as a potential LOOGY before I shell out a multi-year deal for any free agent LOOGY.

    • Mark L. says:

      Igawa isn’t on the 40-man roster, he isn’t pitching another inning in pinstripes. As it stands, his salary does not count against the luxury tax.

      • Mattchu12 says:

        Totally forgot about him being off the 40-man roster. I stand corrected, though I do stand by my anti-multi-year-free-agent-loogy opinion.

  12. Patrick says:

    RAB dont delete this for being off-topic please!

    According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Yankees have talked to the Diamondbacks about Justin Upton.

  13. vin says:

    I see we have some hot stove virgins here.

    I’ll cast my bullpen (handedness aside) votes for:


  14. bigjuan says:

    If he falls to the Yanks for next to nothing, sure. Otherwise I don’t see it as a worthwhile investment.

  15. Dan says:

    This gets you a righty not a lefty but still a setup man and maybe closer for when Mo leaves. Yanks get Aardsma from Seattle and Justin Upton from the Dbacks. They deal Swish to Seattle along with one prospect to each team. What do you think?

  16. i think lookign at a lefty like feliciano is a smart idea. we need lefty’s in teh bullpen and so far so good. we could use a few by the way.

  17. Frank says:

    Cash needs to contact the Marlins now, while they are giving players away for practically nothing, and obtain Leo Nunez.

  18. Avi says:

    According to Jerry Crasnick of, the Braves have acquired Dan Uggla from the Marlins for Omar Infante and Mike Dunn.

  19. CliffLEEtheYanKEE says:

    Uggla for Infante/Mike Dunn? What a steal

  20. This is what the Marlins FO was doing when they greenlit the Uggla deal:

  21. Frank says:

    And to top it off, they are about to sign to Buck a 3 year/18M deal. John Buck. That’s right. John Buck for 18M

    • God, it’s like Mets South Beach down there.

    • CliffLEEtheYanKEE says:

      Cashman better call them quick- Josn Johnson for Nova and Jonathan Albaledejo!!!!!!

    • Mattchu12 says:

      The guy who couldn’t hit enough to stick in Kansas City. That John Buck.

      Though I gotta admit, I figured the Red Sox would sign him as a stop-gap (to what? I dunno) with V-Mart looking like a future Tiger everyday. Salty full-time? Ugly.

    • ChrisR says:

      Johnson, Hanley and Stanton for Pena and cash considerations!?

      • Mattchu12 says:

        Marlins Front Office: “Pena is too close to arbitration years for our liking, but hey, since we’re already on the phone and all, we’ll take Carmen Angellini instead.”

        • Avi says:

          Pretty weak by the Marlins. Hard to believe this is the best they could have done. But this is further evidence that when a team trades a good player because of financial reasons (as is the case with almost all trades), most of the time they receive far less than they’re trading and far less than people speculate.

  22. nathan says:

    Hopefully this is just a rumor. The Mets rode his mediocre arm to death the last 2 years, I dont think this will be a good idea.

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.