Neftali Feliz's new one-year deal with the Brewers is a win-win

One of the more overlooked free agents on the market finally find a new home.

Neftali Feliz, who earned Rookie of the Year honors as the Texas Rangers closer in 2010, reached a one-year agreement with the Milwaukee Brewers, according to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan:



The Brewers are one of the few teams that could offer Feliz an opportunity to close again, so this is a great landing spot for a veteran reliever looking to re-establish past value.

Feliz, who’s still only 28, took big steps toward that goal last season. In 62 appearances for the Pittsburgh Pirates, he posted a 3.52 ERA, to go along with a 10.2 K/9. That was a big improvement over 2015, which saw Feliz post a 6.38 ERA and a 7.3 K/9.

Feliz did allow a career-high 10 home runs over his 53 2/3 innings, which is troubling. There’s also this:


Remember, Feliz had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and has experienced a very slow recovery. That his arm remains structurally sound is obviously the most important thing. That he added velocity as the season went on and got his fastball back into the mid-to-high 90s also bodes well. But he may still require maintenance in the form of managing his workload.

Former A.L. Rookie of the Year Neftali Feliz looks for another chance to close in Milwaukee. (AP)
Former A.L. Rookie of the Year Neftali Feliz looks for another chance to close in Milwaukee. (AP)

In Milwaukee, Feliz should find the opportunity to pitch critical innings again. Granted, he did serve as a key set-up man at times for Clint Hurdle’s squad in 2016, but there’s nothing like the pressure of the ninth inning. As noted, Feliz has been there before. He was the Rookie of the Year and an All-Star in 2010, when he posted 40 saves. Overall, he’s sitting on 99 saves for his career, and we’re guessing he sees opening day as the perfect time to reach 100.

After trading their two most established relievers in Jeremy Jeffress and Tyler Thornburg, the Brewers’ door is open in 2017. If Feliz can stay healthy and seize it, this could prove to be a fruitful union for both sides.

As a free agent again next winter, he could be poised to cash in for the first time in his career. As for the Brewers, they could look to rebuild their bullpen around him, or turn him into a solid trade chip. It has the makings of a win-win, without too much risk being involved for Milwaukee.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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