Neftali Feliz is indeed nearing a deal with brewers
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 14, 2017
Heyman also reports that why several teams remain in the mix for Feliz’s services, the Brewers are the “clear front-runner” for the 28-year-old. Jim Goulart of BrewerFan.net is reporting that the deal will be worth $6.5 million if is indeed completed.
Feliz, who won the American League Rookie of the Year Award with the Texas Rangers in 2010, spent the 2016 season with the Brewers’ division rival Pittsburgh Pirates where he had a resurgent season after the past couple of seasons.
In 53.2 innings of work, Feliz had a 4-2 win-loss record, a 3.52 earned run average, and 61 strikeouts on the season, serving as a setup man for Mark Melancon, and then Tony Watson after Melancon was traded to the Washington Nationals.
From 2009-2011, Feliz was one of the hardest throwers in all of baseball. Per Fangraphs, Feliz had an average fastball velocity of 96.3 miles per hour. However, in 2012, his velocity took a notable tailspin, as his fastball velocity dipped down to 94.7 miles per hour.
The drop in velocity was a result of Feliz having a sprained UCL in his right elbow, which caused him to go on the 60-day disabled list in May 2014, and then undergo Tommy John surgery in August of that year.
As expected, Feliz would miss most of the 2013 season because of surgery, as he only appeared in six games during the season. His 93.6 mile per hour fastball velocity remains the lowest mark of his entire MLB career.
Velocity was once again a problem for Feliz in 2014, but it wasn’t affecting his performance on the field when he wasn’t on the disabled list, as he posted a 1.99 earned run average in 31.2 innings of work. The 2015 season is where the problems really started to happen.
Across 48 appearances in 2015, Feliz had an earned run average of 6.38, and while his velocity ended up trending upwards for the first time since 2011, it was still evident that Feliz’s problems where much deeper.
That’s why Feliz agreed to a one-year, $3.9 million deal in January 2016 to rebuild his reputation with the Pirates, and now if he is indeed wearing Brewers blue and gold next year, it will likely be as the team’s closer.
Brewers general manager David Stearns declined to comment on the report that the Brewers and Feliz were close to a deal, but after trading away relievers Will Smith, Jeremy Jeffress, and Tyler Thornburg to improve the team’s minor league system, it seems evident that Feliz, or someone for that matter will be apart of the Brewers bullpen in 2017.
Milwaukee currently has a very young bullpen that has little experience when it comes to saving games. The Brewers’ most notable bullpen pitchers are Carlos Torres, Corey Knebel, Jacob Barnes, and Michael Blazek. Between those four pitchers, there are a total of 7 career Major League saves.
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