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Cashman and Warthen Both Wrong With Feliciano

By Mike Silva ~ April 4th, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva.

Much was made about the quotes by Brian Cashman on Saturday regarding the abuse of Pedro Feliciano. I am not sure why since this was a topic discussed here a couple of weeks ago. Anyone with average baseball acumen had to see the Mets didn’t properly manage Pedro Feliciano the last three years. Even worse, Dan Warthen didn’t deny it, but justified it with the excuse that “Feliciano never said he couldn’t pitch.”

There are two positions to this story. The obvious one is ridicule towards Cashman for vastly overpaying a situational lefty when the market was flooded with them. How can you justify giving Pedro Feliciano $8 million dollars for two years when Arthur Rhodes received a one year contract and other comparable LOOGY’s like Randy Choate, Tim Byrdak, and Will Ohman received significantly less? This isn’t a knock on Feliciano, but his performance wasn’t so vastly better than the aforementioned that he was worth paying three times more. Maybe it doesn’t matter when you have a $200 million dollar payroll, but it certainly isn’t one of Brian Cashman’s savvier free agent deals.

On the other hand Dan Warthen actually may come out looking worse. For him to admit they overused Feliciano, and use the excuse that he never stopped them, is patently ridiculous. One thing you will learn about ballplayers is they never want to say no to their coaches. When you come from a journeyman background it’s even harder since there is that built in fear it could lead to a release or minor league stint. I don’t know if those were the reasons with Feliciano, but that mentality is pretty standard for ballplayers so I would suspect I am not far off. As the pitching coach Warthen should feel a responsibility towards keeping his pitchers healthy. His response was full of sarcasm when it should have been more apologetic and contrite.

The one lesson to take away from this situation is that I look at both Brian Cashman and Dan Warthen differently. I am beginning to wonder how much autonomy Cashman really has. If he knew Feliciano was abused why would he throw that kind of money his way? Has he been afflicted with “designer label syndrome” like his bosses? This is another odd quote in what has become a daily occurrence since the beginning of the offseason.

In the case of Warthen you have to be concerned about the current arms in the bullpen. If they don’t stop him will he do the same again? Does he even have a program to ensure his pitchers stay healthy? What pitchers have been significantly better under Warthen than Rick Peterson? I still am unsure if Warthen is the right man to maximize the staff’s talent.

The real story here isn’t the war of words between the GM and pitching coach, but the lefty reliever that may never be the same again. How can one guy spend money so foolishly? How can other be so flippant about his culpability in the situation?

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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3 Responses to Cashman and Warthen Both Wrong With Feliciano

  1. Matt W

    What nonsense it is to suggest that Warthen should have been “more apologetic and contrite” in responding to Cashman. Were he responding to Feliciano then just maybe, almost certainly not, but maybe, he should have been contrite. But the way the Mets used Feliciano led to him getting an $8 million contract, so they don’t have all that much to apologize for.

    Feliciano didn’t set the record for single-season appearances from the bullpen – he was 14 appearances short of matching Mike Marshall’s 106 appearances in ’74 (which was also the last of three consecutive seasons when Marshall led the league in appearances). Marshall pitched a monstrous 208 1/3 innings that year, Pedro’s innings totals aren’t even close to that. Marshall went on to pitch in another 7 major-league seasons, and once again led the league in appearances in ’79, so clearly relief pitchers can sometimes survive even heavier use than the Mets made of Feliciano.

    In the spirit of this posting I start to wonder whether you should be more apologetic than dismissing a guy Cashman described as “one of the better” lefty relievers in the majors (and indeed, a guy with a healthy career 127+ ERA despite being asked to pitch to too many right-handers) as a “journeyman”.

  2. Russ

    I’m a Cash guy but I have a problem with him comment for the simple reason that he said nothing when Joe Torre destroyed Tanyan Sturtz, Paul Quantrill and especially Scott Proctor.

    You can’t complain about the guy across the street while ignoring the same thing happening repeatedly in your own house.

    Besides, with his obvious love for bringing back former Yankees, I wanted him to sign Randy Choate instead. I still don’t get that one.

  3. Mike Silva

    Randy Choate was signed for 2 years and $2.5 million dollars. Lefties had a .529 OPS against him (BAA of .202)

    Feliciano signed for 2 years and $8 million. Last year he produced and OPS of .574 vs LH. BAA of .211

    I understand Perpetual Pedro has a longer track record, but the utilization should have been a red flag. Maybe even signing Arthur Rhodes on the same 1 year/$4 million deal that Texas did would have have been wiser. Although I know the Yanks typically always see Rhodes at his worst so that could play into it.

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