New York Mets Take Gamble By Offering Pedro Feliciano Arbitration

James Stewart-MeudtCorrespondent IINovember 23, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 25: Relief pitcher Pedro Feliciano #25 of the New York Mets throws a pitch during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on September 25, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Mets won 5-2. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

The New York Mets will reportedly offer reliever Pedro Feliciano arbitration, which puts the Mets in a very tricky situation.

If Feliciano accepts the Mets' offer, the Mets would have to sign him to a one-year contract for an unknown amount of money, somewhere around $4 million, most likely.

Last season, Feliciano, 34, made $2.9 million. He threw his third consecutive season of at least 86 appearances. He went 3-6 with a 3.30 ERA and 56 Ks.

Feliciano has been the Mets most important relief pitcher season after season. Mainly a left-handed specialist, Feliciano is especially important with sluggers like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Brian McCann looming in the NL East.

If the Mets do go to arbitration with Feliciano, it would eat up most of their already thin offseason budget. The Mets have $111 million committed to only eight players, with scheduled raises to come. Jason Bay is due a $9.5 million bump (sigh) and David Wright is due $4 million more. 

Reportedly, the Mets only have $5-10 million to play with, and Feliciano could take almost half of that.

There is no doubt that the Mets need Feliciano. Without him, the Mets would no longer have that go-to lefty in the bullpen without bringing in a fresh arm. Feliciano held lefties to a .211 BAA last season.

The Mets do have some things on their side though. For one, Feliciano is seeking a mutli-year deal in free agency, but his age would probably deter most teams from taking a chance on a long contract. Feliciano is also a type-B free agent, which means the Mets would get a second-round pick in the 2011 First Year Player Draft to the Mets.

Feliciano has until November 30 to accept the Mets' offer. So until then, the Mets will have to hold their breath.

Although Feliciano would eat up most of their offseason budget, the Mets need him. Mets GM Sandy Alderson called the Mets' chances of being free agent players "unlikely," so they'll have to spend whatever money they have locking up their important players.

The Mets have already lost Hisanori Takahashi to free agency when they were unable to come to terms on a contract, which will definitely hurt the Mets next season.

Obviously, the Mets know how important Feliciano is to their bullpen next season if they're willing to take a chance on arbitration.