Friday, October 21, 2016

Reshaping the Yankees Bullpen: Neftali Feliz

We’ve turned our focus from the big fish on the free agent market, at least temporarily anyway, to some of the lower cost free agent options for the New York Yankees. We’ve also decided to focus on an aspect of the team that actually can be helped via free agency, the bullpen. We already discussed bringing in the very underrated Brad Zeigler to the Bronx but if that falls through what about a Plan B? What about Neftali Feliz?

Now I know what you’re thinking, “that guy stinks,” and yes at one point recently he did but hear me out. Neftali Feliz was a great closer for the Texas Rangers in 2010 and 2011 before injuries and ineffectiveness derailed his career through the 2015 season. With the Rangers and the Detroit Tigers during that span Feliz only appeared in 44 MLB games allowing a 6.48 ERA and many other stats I could throw out there to show just how bad we all already know he was. Feliz signed on with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2016 and he seems to have found himself again which could work exactly into the Yankees hands this winter as they try to build their bullpen back up.

Feliz looked much closer to the Felix in 2010 and 2011 than he did in 2012-2015 last year posting a 3.52 ERA in 53.2 innings including a return to dominance as a strikeout pitcher with 10.2 K/BB while with the Pirates. All that is great but I would think it would take another season like it in 2017 before Feliz would be in line for a multi-year deal leaving him likely to sign another one-year deal for next season. Feliz, like Zeigler, could be a stop gap for the Yankees prospects looking ahead to the 2018 season while also giving the team a shot at competing in 2017 as well.

If Feliz wants reasonable money on a one-year deal and arms like Zeigler, Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon are off the board I have no issue with signing the former Rangers star. This is an arm to keep an eye on Cash, bookmark this post. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)