Astros sign Pedro Feliz to one-year deal

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Enrique Rojas of ESPN reports that the Astros have agreed to a one-year, $4 million contract with third baseman Pedro Feliz. Feliz became a free agent last month when the Phillies declined his $5 million option for 2010, but he managed to find another starting job for just $1 million less. Of course, he had to go from the back-to-back National League champs to the 74-win Astros to make that happen.
Feliz was once an excellent defensive third baseman with enough power to make up for low batting averages and horrible on-base percentages, but at 35 years old his glove is now merely very good and he hit a measly .266/.308/.386 with just 12 homers in 158 games for the Phillies in 2009. That works out to a .694 OPS, ranking 143rd among the 155 players who qualified for the batting title, and his OPS in the previous four seasons were .705, .708, .709, and .717.
For a contending team with a couple holes that need to be filled cheaply Feliz’s good glove, weak bat combo might still bring a little value to the table, but for a mediocre team like the Astros with all kinds of issues to address he makes little sense. Of course, neither did handing $15 million to Brandon Lyon, so it’s possible “make little sense” is actually general manager Ed Wade’s offseason goal. If you can’t be ’em, confuse ’em.

Report: Mets interview Dave Littlefield to fill GM vacancy

AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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Marc Carig of The Athletic reports that the Mets have interviewed Dave Littlefield to fill the club’s GM vacancy. The position hasn’t exactly been a popular one for potential candidates, with many preemptively taking their name out of consideration.

Littlefield, 58, was the Pirates’ GM between 2001-07. It didn’t exactly go well. The club never won more than 75 games during his tenure. Littlefield was also infamous for the 2003 Rule 5 draft in which he carelessly left several valuable players unprotected, including Chris Shelton and José Bautista. Littlefield was also criticized for trades he made (e.g. Aramis Ramírez) and for trades he didn’t make (e.g. Kris Benson for Ryan Howard).

In the time since, Littlefield worked as a scout for the Cubs, then for the Tigers. Since 2015, he has worked as the vice president of player development for the Tigers. Littlefield’s successor, Neal Huntington, went on to have more success which didn’t help Littlefield’s cause any. Huntington was also comparatively much more open to analytics.

The Mets’ interest in Littlefield isn’t surprising. There are plenty of up-and-coming GM candidates — like Ben Cherington — the Mets could target, but Fred Wilpon (pictured above) want that. They want someone malleable who will adhere to payroll constrictions. Mets ownership’s involvement is an issue for the younger, analytics-oriented executives, Matt Ehalt of The Record reported earlier this month. Ehalt wrote, “There are rumblings that several candidates with progressive, analytics-oriented approaches do not believe they will be able to operate as they please should they take the Mets job, according to a source. That hesitation played a factor in why former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington bowed out of the mix, per the source.”

You have to feel bad for Mets fans, who seem relegated to having to root for a middling ballclub once again. And you have to feel bad for the likes of Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard, who will once again have to perform for a team that doesn’t have competing as its chief priority.