The Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly bringing in 2010 American League Rookie of the Year Neftali Feliz.
The right-handed reliever received a minor-league contract from the Phillies, according to Silfredo Melo, a reporter in the Dominican Republic. Feliz’s deal will give him an invitation to spring training with the major-league team.
Feliz broke into the majors with the Texas Rangers near the end of the 2009 season, and became their closer in 2010, the season he was named the AL’s best rookie. He dominated in his first three seasons, posting a 2.55 ERA and 177 ERA+ in the first 162 2/3 innings of his career.
A UCL injury and Tommy John surgery in 2012 limited Feliz to just 44 appearances from 2012-2014. He struggled in 2015 for the Rangers and the Detroit Tigers. He then bounced back with a solid 2016 season for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but struggled again for the Milwaukee Brewers and Kansas City Royals in 2017.
Feliz pitched in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization in 2018, but has not played for an affiliated team since then.
He could be considered a low-risk, high-reward signing for the Phillies, who had many problems in their bullpen this past season. While probably unlikely at this point in his career, if Feliz can return to pitching at a level near the one he performed at early on in the major leagues, he would be a significant addition to the team.
The 32-year-old Feliz has previous ties to the recently-hired Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. Dombrowski was the general manager of the Tigers when Feliz signed with them in July of 2015.
The reliever is currently a member of the Águilas Cibaeñas of the Dominican Winter League, where he has an ERA of 3.55 in 13 appearances.
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