The Dodgers have agreed to a minor league deal with veteran right-hander Neftali Feliz, as first reported by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link). The 33-year-old was cut loose after a pair of rough outings with the Phillies last month.
Feliz, the 2010 AL Rookie of the Year, has seen his once-promising career largely derailed by injuries, although he made a return to the Majors after a nearly four-year absence last month in Philadelphia. He’d dominated in Triple-A, earning that promotion to the bigs, but Feliz was immediately dropped into some high-leverage situations and surrendered the lead in both instances. The Phillies, trying for a second straight season to overcome a series of staggering bullpen struggles, designated Feliz for assignment as part of their ongoing reliever carousel.
It’s been years since we’ve seen Feliz at his best, although his recent work isn’t without its positive indicators. The right-hander’s fastball isn’t averaging 97.5 mph like it did when he was a rookie, but an average four-seam velo of 95.7 mph in his limited work with the Phils is nevertheless quite strong. Add in a 1.26 ERA and a 23-to-6 K/BB ratio in 14 1/3 frames with Triple-A Lehigh Valley earlier this year, and at the very least, Feliz seems well worth a no-risk look.
Bullpen help figures to be one area that the Dodgers will address in the three-plus weeks leading up to the deadline, but bringing Feliz into the mix right now gives them an upside lottery ticket to evaluate down the stretch.