Mets offer arbitration to reliever Feliciano
Team might have to pay $4 million for 2011 if hurler accepts
NEW YORK -- The Mets offered left-handed reliever Pedro Feliciano arbitration prior to Tuesday's deadline, agreeing to the significant risk that comes with a potential reward.
Offering Feliciano arbitration guarantees the Mets a second-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft if another team signs the Type B free agent this winter. But it also forces New York to prepare for the possibility that Feliciano, who made $2.9 million last season, could accept the club's offer. If he does, the Mets will be forced to offer Feliciano a one-year contract at a to-be-determined salary, likely close to $4 million.
Feliciano is seeking a multiyear deal on the open market, and the fact that the Tigers recently inked fellow reliever Joaquin Benoit to a three-year, $16.5 million contract bodes well for his chances to land one. But he is also 34 years old and coming off three consecutive seasons of at least 86 appearances. The inherent risk of age, along with the sacrifice of a Draft pick, may deter teams from pursuing him -- thus prompting Feliciano to consider accepting New York's offer.
Feliciano has until Nov. 30 to accept or decline arbitration from the Mets.
If he accepts, he will suck up a significant portion of the team's flexibility this winter. The Mets already have over $111 million set aside for just eight players, and scheduled raises to others may leave them with as little as $5-10 million to spend this winter. If the Mets use up more than half of that liquid budget on Feliciano, it could significantly impact their other dealings.
"I've tried to be clear from the outset that we are not going to be big players in the free-agent market this year," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "Our goal is to be players every year. We have a little less flexibility this time around. The free-agent market is certainly something we're keeping our eye on. The free-agent market extends through January, so we've got a lot of time to go. We'll see where we are at the end of that time frame."
HoJo, Niemann won't return in previous roles
NEW YORK -- Mets hitting coach Howard Johnson and bullpen coach Randy Niemann will not return to those roles next season, though both will have jobs somewhere within the organization.
New manager Terry Collins will begin the process of hiring a staff this week to join the two men already in place: incumbent pitching coach Dan Warthen and third-base coach Chip Hale. Former bench coach Dave Jauss is a leading candidate to take over Collins' old post as Minor League field coordinator.
Collins said Tuesday that he has begun talking with former Phillies manager Larry Bowa regarding a job on his big league staff, though he may look for someone with a more docile temperament for the role of bench coach.
"Certainly, I'm going to bring in somebody with a different personality than me," Collins said with a laugh. "We don't need two of us."
Collins also noted that he wants to assemble a "diverse staff," furthering the belief that Mookie Wilson could join the club as first-base coach.
Minaya not rushing to accept other offers
NEW YORK -- Former Mets general manager Omar Minaya has a job offer from the D-backs on the table, though he is in no hurry to accept.
The Mets, who have already contacted Minaya, hope he doesn't accept any offer before checking back with his old team.
"I know he's having conversations with a number of people, so I might fit into that mix at some point," Minaya's replacement, Sandy Alderson, said. "I'm sure he's been observing everything that's going on here. At some point, we'll have a conversation and he'll make a decision in light of where he sees the organization going and where he sees he might be able to make a contribution and what his other possibilities are."
Mets add Smith, D'Aloia to scouting crew
NEW YORK -- The Mets have hired Roy Smith and James D'Aloia as professional scouts, the club announced on Tuesday.
Smith spent the last two years as a professional scout with the Blue Jays, following a stint as special assistant to the general manager in Pittsburgh. D'Aloia spent the last six years as a scout for the Jays.
The moves come on the heels of a scouting shakeup that has already seen the Mets dismiss two scouts, along with special assistant Sandy Johnson and director of amateur scouting Rudy Terrasas.