In one comment made to the media yesterday, Brian Cashman managed to upset the Yankees’ crosstown rivals as well as a portion of his own fanbase. Marc Carig has more:
“He was abused,” Cashman said this afternoon. “Listen, I don’t know, the concern is based on the MRI. The use pattern was abusive, but the MRI itself shows what he’s got. And that leads us to believe all that is resolvable and that it’s not a major issue, just a timing issue.”
Dan Warthen, the Mets’ pitching coach, said that this is all information the Yankees knew when they signed him and that none of the innings Feliciano pitched was forced.
“He volunteered for the baseball every day,” Warthen said. “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. So I feel badly that someone feels that way. But that was part of the reason that we decided not to re-sign him, because we knew we had used him 270-some times in the last three years.”
“It’s a thin market when you’re out there looking for lefties, and he’s one of the better ones out there,” [Cashman] said. “But you don’t typically run to sign up guys that have been used like that.”
Regarding the content of Cashman’s statement, many reacted by wondering why the Yankees signed Feliciano if they felt that he had been abused. However, as Cashman alludes to, all he is saying is that the club was aware of the risks inherent to a pitcher who had been used like Perpetual Pedro was and decided to sign him anyhow. Every free agent pitcher comes with a set of risks that could cut against signing him. The best you can do is assess your needs, the market, and the risks, and make a calculated decision based on those factors. You can quibble with the signing all you want, but to think that Cashman did not know Feliciano’s usage history when he signed him or to that he did not consider the risk at all is pretty naive. If a GM never took a calculated risk, he’d never sign anybody, and a team with the resources of the Yankees can afford to take the odd risk when presented with a thin market.
All that said, it is hard to deny that Cashman’s statement was tactless and never should have been uttered. If he wanted to inform the media that the club had been aware of the risk when they signed Feliciano, he could have said something like ‘a pitcher with that sort of mileage on him is always a risk.’ Instead, he seemed to blame the Mets for the injury, which comes off as petty and shifts the blame where it does not belong. When you take a calculated risk and it blows up on you, you have to accept the blame when people lay it at your feet, just as you would want to be credited if your gambit had paid off. While the story of Pedro Feliciano as a Yankee has yet to be written, the end result will rightfully be attributed to Cashman, not the Mets. For now, with Feliciano hitting the DL before ever pitching an inning for the Yankees, Cash needs to simmer down and accept the criticism that comes his way.
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