And You Signed Him Why?

Yankees GM Brian Cashman might want to consider going back to saying lots of stuff while saying nothing at all. By that I mean speaking in circles, using corporate terminology to answer questions without really answering them in a way that might come back to haunt him.

This past off-season, Cashman alienated Derek Jeter during their contract negotiations; made the bizarre decision to pursue Carl Pavano for a return engagement that would’ve been something similar to Chevy Chase getting an opportunity to give The Chevy Chase Show another go; and was overruled by ownership in the signing of Rafael Soriano after he’d said he didn’t want the reliever.

One pitcher he did want was Pedro Feliciano.

Feliciano was a longtime Mets reliever who was their lefty specialist and acquired the nickname “Perpetual Pedro” because he was used so often. Beginning in 2006, Feliciano appeared in 64, 78, 86, 88 and 92 games. He didn’t throw that many innings—never more than 64 in one season—but factoring in all the appearances and warming up in games where he didn’t pitch and there’s a basis for Cashman’s lament that Feliciano was “abused”.

In this ESPN Story, Cashman makes his statement; Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen retorts; and Feliciano speaks out regarding the rotator cuff strain that has placed him on the disabled list.

There’s no one who’s obviously “wrong” here, but Cashman appears to be using selective information when discussing the Feliciano injury.

As Warthen said, “[The Yankees] didn’t know that when they signed him? … He volunteered for the baseball every day. He was asked whether he was able to pitch. He said ‘yes’ every day — every day — and wanted to pitch more than we even pitched him.”

Cashman was unaware of the “abuse” that Feliciano had been subjected to? And the excuse for ignoring the “abuse” was that there was a thin market for left-handed specialists and the Yankees needed him? This was why they signed him for 2-years and $8 million?

The suggestion that Feliciano was abused implies that he’s damaged goods and is on borrowed time. Wouldn’t common sense dictate that this is a pitcher who should’ve been offered a 1-year deal or avoided entirely? That maybe the Yankees should’ve looked elsewhere for a lefty specialist?

Cashman’s timing is a bit out-of-whack for this sudden misplaced blame and buyer’s remorse especially since a week ago, this article about Feliciano was published in the NY Times relating his desire to pitch, pitch and pitch some more and that Feliciano himself said that the current injury has nothing to do with workload.

You can craft a bit of a family tree concerning Feliciano and trace it all the way back to the Yankees if you’re looking to assign blame for the situation.

The Mets manager from 2006 to mid-2008 was Willie Randolph who, prior to taking the job as Mets manager, was on Joe Torre‘s staff with the Yankees; Randolph ran his bullpen similarly to the way Torre did. Is Cashman conveniently ignoring the wasteland of overused relief pitchers from Torre’s days as his manager?

Does the name Scott Proctor ring a bell?

Proctor never complained, always took the ball and was blown out by Torre.

Other Yankees relievers like Tanyon Sturtze, Steve Karsay and Tom Gordon were battered by Torre as well.

Where was Cashman with his protectiveness? To shield them from the horrific “abuse”?

How about the fact that the Yankees felt compelled to install the Joba Rules in part to protect Joba Chamberlain from being overused by the reliever-happy Torre; that part of the reason Chamberlain has degenerated into a glorified middle-reliever and failed prospect is due to the dictates, regulations and paranoia for which the Yankees’ GM was the catalyst.

Given Cashman’s up-and-down history with pitchers (and I’m being generous), what position is he in to be blaming others for Feliciano’s injury? And if he was so concerned about it, why did he sign him in the first place?

My podcast appearance with SportsFanBuzz previewing the season is posted. You can listen here The SportsFan Buzz: March 30, 2011 or on iTunes.

I was on with Mike at NYBaseballDigest and his preview as well. You can listen here.

Paul Lebowitz’s 2011 Baseball Guide is available.

I published a full excerpt of my book here.

It’s available now. Click here to get it in paperback or E-Book on I-Universe or on Amazon or BN. It’s also available via E-book on Borders.com.

Now it’s also out on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook.


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