Saturday: Neftali Feliz is reportedly close to a deal that would send him to a different NL Central team next season, the Brewers.
The rumor (which you can take with a grain of salt right now) is that he’ll get $6.5 million, which really isn’t much — it’s less than twice what he got last winter after a poor 2015 season and way short of what we at MLBTR thought he’d get. Still, I admire Feliz’s agent’s plan. After several seasons of injury and ineffectiveness, Feliz headed to the Pirates last season on a make-good deal. Like a lot of pitchers who sign such deals with the Pirates, Feliz did, in fact, make good.
Step 2 of the plan seems to be to turn Feliz back into a closer. The Brewers have spent the past year or so trading every veteran who wasn’t nailed down, including closer types Jeremy Jeffress and Tyler Thornburg. So now there’s a closer vacancy in Milwaukee. Enter Feliz, who has 99 career saves and is still only 28. If Feliz does succeed in Milwaukee (and wherever the Brewers trade him at the deadline) this year, he’ll be in great position to cash in on a free agent market that lately has gone hog wild for closers (see Melancon, Mark).
If Feliz really is just getting $6.5 million after a strong season in Pittsburgh, it’s a risky gambit. But it’s one that could turn out to be extremely lucrative.