The San Diego Padres are reportedly interested in reliever Neftali Feliz, along with several other teams. How true are these rumors?
The San Diego Padres have a lot of pitching roles to fill for 2017. The Rotation is the main area of concern, with three of 2016’s starters becoming free agents.
This doesn’t mean that the team’s bullpen is good to go though. With a shaky back end, it is fair to expect the Padres to pursue a relatively established reliever to bolster the bullpen.
In fact, it appears that general manager A.J. Preller and the front office is already on it.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Padres are in the Neftali Feliz sweepstakes. Feliz was a well known long time Texas Ranger, but his career has slightly slowed the last two seasons in Detroit and Pittsburgh. Thrust into different roles, the native of the Dominican Republic logged 53 2/3 innings finishing with a respectable 3.52 ERA.
San Diego is one of the leading contenders to sign Feliz according to multiple reports, but with the amount of teams which have been rumored to be contacting the 28-year-old, it will be difficult.
The Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds are the other leading contenders to sign the right-hander. But Feliz has also been linked to teams such as the Milwaukee Brewers, Washington Nationals, Colorado Rockies, and Arizona Diamondbacks.
But the Padres could really use a reliever like Feliz. He is still in the midst of his career’s prime, and can provide a much needed mid to high 90s fastball. Despite his recent struggles, Feliz still has the makeup of a dominant closer.
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Brandon Maurer and Carter Capps are two of San Diego’s top relievers, and Maurer will probably once again be the closer if no moves are made. If Feliz is signed though, he could be thrown in the mix. Whether or not he ends up being the closer or not is another question. With only 12 combined saves in 110 appearances the last three seasons, Feliz has moved on to playing different roles.
Still, with his natural pitching ability which reflects that of a closer, there is a good chance he ends up in the back end of San Diego’s bullpen if they do indeed sign him.
Feliz was paid just $3.9 million dollars last season with the Pirates. Without a significant pay raise, this is a very affordable option for the Padres. As far as bullpen arms go, Feliz seems to strike the balance between a capable, well known name and an economical signing.