Buzz: Two AL Teams interested in Sheffield

Update, 5:00 pm:

Buster Olney of ESPN.com believes Gary Sheffield and Pedro Feliciano were claimed on waivers, but pulled back by the Mets.

In other words, now, neither player can be traded this season.

Original Post, 2:42 pm:

Jon Heyman of SI.com believes two teams were interested in acquiring Gary Sheffield from the Mets before his recent hamstring issue emerged.

Heyman is not yet sure if Sheffield and Pedro Feliciano were cleared waivers.

…SNY’s Ted Berg and i were talking before about whether the Rockies would be a good fit, in that they are rumored to be seeking a power bat for the bench and a left-handed specialist, i.e., sheffield and feliciano or Billy Wagner…

Heyman also reports on Matt Holliday’s off-season demands; the market for free-agent-to-be Jason Bay; and the future of John Smoltz; among other topics and rumors from around MLB.

Buzz: Mets looking for Left-Handed Reliever

Joe Demayo of NY Baseball Digest believes the Mets and Yankees have interest in Pirates LHP John Grabow.

In a post to Twitter, Heyman also lists Nationals LHP Joe Beimel and Jays LHP Scott Downs as potential candidates.

Original Post, 12:30 pm:

This afternoon on WFAN, SI.com’s Jon Heyman said the Mets met yesterday to discuss the trade deadline, and, among other things, are looking for a left-handed reliever to take pressure off Pedro Feliciano.

To read more of this story, click here

Buzz: Dodgers would have Interest in Feliciano

Gordon Edes of Yahoo! Sports believes the Dodgers would have interest in LHP Pedro Feliciano if the Mets become sellers at the July 31 Trade Deadline.

this jives with what i said yesterday, in that, feliciano is the only veteran player worth anything on the roster, who is healthy and able to be traded, and who will return a minimal amount of talent, such as some mid-level prospect you and i have never heard of…

In 51 appearances this season for the Mets, Feliciano is 2–3 with 2.95 ERA in 36 innings, during which left-handed hitters are batting .186 against him.

Feliciano is again eligible for arbitration next season, after which he can become a free agent.

Stat: Feliciano, You're In

Pedro Feliciano has appeared in 39 of the Mets’ 66 games so far this season.

He is on pace to make 96 relief appearances, ten more than his career high which he set in 2008.

Feliciano has pitched without rest seventeen times, on one day’s rest eleven times, and on two day’s rest seven times.

For a humorous take on this, check out Amazin’ Avenue.

…feliciano has been stellar this season, and is naturally the first choice in a tight situation…however, when is enough enough…unfortunately, with j.j. putz injured, and bobby parnell’s recent struggles, feliciano is sure to be leaned on even more…

Quote: Schneider wanted Feliciano's Slider

Left-handed batters entered last night’s game hitting .125 against Pedro Feliciano, who had allowed just one run in his last 21 appearances.

Last night, however, in a tie game, during the seventh inning, Feliciano gave up a single to the left-handed hitting Nick Markakis and a two-run home run to the left-handed hitting Aubrey Huff, which were the deciding runs in the game.

i had a bad feeling the minute markakis got his hit, because feliciano has been so good this season retiring the first batter he faced

“Schneider called a slider to Aubrey Huff, but I shook it off,” Feliciano told reporters in Baltimore.  “I wanted to throw a cutter, but I didn’t hit my spot.”

cutter… really… yikes… the ball was a spinner… i thought it was the slider, with no crash to it… guess not… which makes it worse

On the flip side, Bobby Parnell retired all three batters he faced, coming off three straight appearances allowing a run.

News: Matt Diaz rarely hits Right-Handed Pitching

Last night, Jerry Manuel pulled Johan Santana, who had thrown 108 pitches through one out in the seventh inning, with a runner standing on first, one out and the game tied at one.

Bobby Parnell relieved Santana to get one out, allowing the runner from first to advance to second.

i probably would have left santana in, but that’s because i think he’s the best pitcher in the game, and i trust him, and i would be incapable of telling him to leave… that said, when manuel yanked him, i worried, but i trust the bullpen, and parnell had been great all season, and Pedro Feliciano was warming up to face a left-handed hitter, so the inning was on target to go according to plan

As predicted, Manuel then turned to LHP Pedro Feliciano to face the left-handed hitting Brian McCann, who entered the at bat hitting .143 against lefties.

McCann slapped a routine ground ball to Jose Reyes, which would have ended the inning, but Reyes bobbled the ball, McCann was safe at first, with runners advancing to second and third.

Instead of pulling Feliciano in favor of Brian Stokes to face Matt Diaz, who is hitting just .188 in his last 100 at bats against right-handed pitching, Manuel left Feliciano in to face Diaz, who is hitting .286 this season against left-handed pitching, and who hit .319 against lefties last season.

Naturally, McCann singled to left field, driving in the game’s deciding runs.

i don’t get it… i give feliciano credit, he did his job to get the ground ball from mccann… the inning should have been over… but, after that, there was just no good reason to leave feliciano in, especially since a rested and effective stokes was warmed up and ready to pitch in the bullpen… it just makes zero sense, and is counter to everything manuel promised to do with the bullpen, which is to create roles and stick with them… bizarre

…at the same time, as is often the case when the Mets lose, though santana pitched well, the team struggled to score runs – against Derek Lowe, who looked very good last night– they played sloppy defense, and didn’t hit with runners in scoring positionso, the move by manuel, while confusing, wasn’t solely responsible for the loss… but it didn’t help, that’s for sure

Note: Perez and others will Return from WBC

On Sunday, David Wright was kneed in the head while sliding into second base during the World Baseball Classic.

Wright remained in the game, but told reporters later he felt dizzy while insisting he was fine.

Meanwhile, Team USA will play Puerto Rico in an elimination game today, meaning either Wright and J. J. Putz or Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Alex Cora, Pedro Feliciano and Nelson Figueroa will return to St. Lucie by the end of the week.

Lastly, Mexico was eliminated from the WBC last night, so Oliver Perez will likely return to camp in the next day or so.

Perez went 0-1 during the tournament, and allowed eight runs, three walks and 13 hits, including five homers, in two starts.

In a report for the New York Post, Bart Hubbuch says, “Club officials were especially hot yesterday after Mexico manager Vinny Castilla had Perez throw 85 pitches… Perez wouldn’t be anywhere near that number in an appearance right now if he were back with the Mets.”

To read more about Perez, and Dan Warthen, read Priced Out of the Citi.

postGame: Mets 9, Orioles 3

The Mets beat the Orioles, 9-3, in their Grapefruit League season opener today in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. For a box score, go to MLB.com.

Pedro Feliciano was credited with the win for 1.1 innings of scoreless relief after Sean Green left the game in the first with a fingernail problem.

Former Yankee farmhand Matt DeSalvo pitched two shutout innings, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out one. Brian Stokes,  Darren O’Day and Elmer Dessens also held the Orioles scoreless in their appearances.

Luis Castillo provided the offensive spark for the Mets, driving in four runs on two hits. Ryan Church added three RBI, and Angel Pagan and Nick Evans chipped in three hits apiece.

Relief Pitcher: The Left-Handed Specialist

Friday night, the Mets traded Scott Schoeneweis to the D’Backs for RHP Conor Robertson.

This means, Pedro Feliciano is the only left-handed relief pitcher on the team’s 40–man roster.

LHP Joe Beimel is reportedly seeking a two– or three-year deal, worth roughly $4 million per season, and, from what I can gather, the Mets are not interested – nor should they be at that prince.  I mean, he’s good, but he’s not that good.

Also available on the free-agent market is Brian Shouse, Dennys Reyes, Will Ohman and Eddie Guardado, among others.

The 30–year-old Shouse held left-handed hitters to a .180 batting average last season, with a 28–to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Reyes, 31, is the ultimate left-handed specialist, since it is literally all he is good for – lefties hit .202 against him last season, and are batting .237 during his 535–game career.  The same can actually be said for Guardado, who will soon be 39 years old.

Ohman will likely require a long-term deal, and has drawn interested form the Cardinals and Braves, who have reportedly made him an offer.

On Saturday, NPB Tracker said Mets are the front-runners to sign Japanese free-agent LHP Ken Takahashi, who was 8-5 with a 3.50 ERA in 21 games last season for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

According to the report, Takahashi hopes to sign with a new team by the end of the year.

Relief Pitcher: Mets offered Heilman for Street

On Nov. 18, I wrote, “From what I can gather, the Mets are likely to make a trade for a relief pitcher, who has experience as a closer,” in addition to signing either Francisco Rodriguez, Brian Fuentes or Kerry Wood.”

In the post, I later suggested the Mets could be working to acquire Huston Street, in a deal involving Aaron Heilman.

Today, on his blog for the New York Post, Joel Sherman reports the Mets made such an offer in the days after Street was acquired by the Rockies, who then asked for Pedro Feliciano in addition to Heilman, which the Mets ultimately turned down.

from what i can gather, having talked with people connected to the team, yes, the Mets and Rockies have been talking about a street-for-heilman deal, but i sense the Mets would prefer to trade a mid-level prospect with heilman…i have never heard feliciano’s name mentioned…or, at least to the extent that he will be included in any potential deal…nevertheless, the two sides continue to work on finding a solution

In the report, Sherman writes, “The more I talk to Met officials the more I sense they want to use Street as the eighth-inning guy and still obtain a closer such as Brian Fuentes or Francisco Rodriguez.  The Mets recognize they do not just have a ninth-inning problem, but that their whole late-inning contingent was troublesome.”

this is why i wrote two weeks ago that they are working to acquire a set-up man with experience as a closer, because i sense they do not want to trust the closer position to just one person, for fear of what happened to them last season…and this is wise