Free agent righty Neftali Feliz is close to agreeing to a deal with the Brewers, Fan Rag’s Jon Heyman writes (Twitter links). BrewerFan.net’s Jim Goulart was first to tweet a connection between Feliz and the Brew Crew.
The 28-year-old Feliz is coming off a strong comeback season in the Pirates’ bullpen in which he posted a 3.52 ERA, 10.2 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 over 53 2/3 innings. (He missed the last month of the season due to arm discomfort, but his injury was not structural in nature, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. Feliz also began the year throwing his fastball in the mid-90s and added velocity as the season went on, a promising sign for a pitcher who had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and spent several seasons thereafter trying to get back on track.
The Brewers could represent a good match for Feliz. He has 99 saves’ worth of career closing experience, and in the wake of a variety of Brewers trades of established relievers (including Jeremy Jeffress and Tyler Thornburg), he could receive the opportunity to close in Milwaukee. If he does, he could potentially receive a very lucrative contract the next time he’s a free agent. The rebuilding Brewers, meanwhile, would get the chance to dangle Feliz as a trade piece at the deadline, assuming they do fall out of the playoff race. The Brewers have reportedly been looking for relief pitching lately — GM David Stearns has said he’s exploring the possibility of adding relief help not only through big-league additions, but through minor-league signings and trades. The Dodgers had also been connected to Feliz of late.