Do you see the mug shot to the left? That's a photo of Brooklyn native and now former Met Nelson Phigueroa that was taken during his first tour of duty with the Phillies back in 2001. There will be a new version of this photo soon, as the Phillies claimed Phigueroa off waivers from the Mets earlier today.
He becomes the latest Met castoff to hook up with the Phillies, after Pedro Martinez did the same last year and won his first five decisions for the Phillies, including an eight-inning, 130-pitch effort against the Mets in a 1-0 victory last September. That game mathematically eliminated the Mets from postseason contention.
Phigueroa had one of the best seasons of his career for the Phillies in 2001, winning a career-high four games and finishing with a 3.94 ERA in 13 starts.
The Phillies plan to have Phigueroa on their 25-man roster as they have been decimated with injuries to their pitchers. Starter Joe Blanton and relievers J.C. Romero and Brad Lidge are all currently on the DL, creating the need for them to acquire a pitcher with major league experience.
Mets fans will remember Phigueroa for his numerous fill-in appearances whenever an extra starter was needed and his local boy charm. Studious Metsimus will remember him for his season-ending complete game shutout against the Astros last October 4 (the only complete game and shutout in his major league career) and this failed attempt by his teammates to shave off his eyebrows. (see photo, right)
With the Mets currently employing Johan Santana and The Four Rainouts, the departure of Phigueroa might loom large should Maine, Perez, Pelfrey and Niese pitch ineffectively. That being said, Phigueroa might not be a Phillie for long, especially after their injured pitchers return.
First it was Pedro Martinez. Now it's This Little Phiggy's turn to go red. The Mets didn't need him in the rotation now. Let's hope they don't regret it if Phigueroa comes back and gives the Phillies a Pedro-like performance in 2010.