As I sit here and watch a little bit of the Dodgers/Cardinals game, after catching up on some TIVOd shows, it gets me thinking. Everybody here is all up in arms over what to do with Feliz next year and the majority feel he needs to be in the rotation. My stance on the whole issue has been well known. I feel and felt from the time he got moved to the pen in OKC that was the signal he was going to be transitioned into a reliever full time. I have softened somewhat on that. I don't feel as strongly that he is going to be a permanent reliever but what if he is a reliever all of next year? Would that be the worst thing in the world? What if he did what Adam Wainwright did?
This idea came from watching Wainwright pitch. So I went to B-R and looked at his career numbers. Very impressive. But he spent his first full season in the majors at age 24 in the bullpen. St Louis won the World Series that year. Now im not saying Feliz in the pen would guarantee us a WS next year but look at that Cardinals team, and staff in particular and it wasn't like they had 5 Cy Youngs in the rotation ahead of him.
They had Chris Carpenter at the top who had a great year. They had a solid #2 in Suppan who threw 190 innings with a 4.12 ERA but not great peripherals. A K/9 under 5 and over 3 BB/9 while giving up over a hit per inning. Then its a grab bag of Jason Marquis who gave them 33 starts and over 194 innings but had an ERA north of 6. And the back of their rotation was pieced together between Mark Mulder (93 IP, 7.14 ERA), 24 year old Anthony Reyes (85 IP, 5.06 ERA), Jeff Weaver (83 IP, 5.18 ERA), and Sidney Ponson (68 IP, 5.24 ERA).
Their bullpen was really good however with Wainwright playing a key role as a setup man for Jason Ishringhausen.
So while right now we look to go into 2010 with a rotation of Millwood, Feldman, Holland, Hunter, McCarthy I am thinking its more and more logical to keep Feliz in the pen next year at age 22 and roll with those 5 along with guys like Harrison and Nippert, etc.
I fully realize the NL Central is not the ALWest and that the Cards won their division with only 83 wins but I think with a resurgence from Hamilton and Davis, more consistency from Cruz and Kins, along with continued development for Elvis and Borbon and other guys Feliz may be better for us next year out of the pen late in games and then transition him back to a starter in 2011.
Let the flaming begin