Feliciano declines arbitration offer

Pedro Feliciano officially declined arbitration on Tuesday, meaning it’s unlikely he’ll be back with the Mets next season.

feliciano2.jpgUsually, these situations are not so black-and-white, cause-and-effect. In most cases, when a free agent declines arbitration from his former club, it’s just a formality that won’t prevent the player from re-signing at a later date. But Feliciano declined arbitration to seek a multi-year deal on the market, and the Mets, given their current financial situation, simply won’t be willing or able to offer one.

The Mets have finite dollars to spend on free agency this winter, perhaps as little as $5-10 million. Allotting more than half of that budget on a one-out reliever doesn’t seem prudent.

That’s not to say a return to New York is impossible. Feliciano lives in the city and enjoys it, and wouldn’t uproot his family without good reason. If he can’t find the type of contract he’s looking for elsewhere, the Mets represent a decent backup plan. But if Joaquin Benoit’s three-year, $16.5 million deal with the Tigers was any indication, the market for relief pitching will be strong this winter. Someone will pay Feliciano. And the Mets, as much as they appreciate what Feliciano has done for them over the past nine seasons, simply can’t afford to be that someone.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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