Tigers Rumors: Neftali Feliz a low-cost bounce back candidate
Bullpen depth is a concern for the Detroit Tigers heading into 2018. A familiar face in Neftali Feliz could be a low-risk, high-reward signing.
The Detroit Tigers need some warm bodies to round out their bullpen in 2018.
Closer Shane Greene will likely be joined by Alex Wilson, Daniel Stumpf, Blaine Hardy and Joe Jimenez next season.
Wilson and Greene are both candidates to be traded this offseason. Either of them getting moved would leave the bullpen lacking veteran presence.
While the Tigers want to give their younger players plenty of chances to succeed during the rebuild, having veterans is great to help stay competitive while providing leadership to the youngsters.
We highlighted multiple veteran relievers the Tigers could target in a post a few weeks ago.
Another option is former Tiger Neftali Feliz, who according to a tweet by Chris Cotillo is auditioning with a team down in the Dominican Republic.
We are not going to mince words here: Feliz was bad when he pitched for the Tigers.
Feliz signed in July 2015 and threw 28 1/3 innings for Detroit. He posted an ugly 7.62 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. Hitters knocked Feliz around for a .303 average. He surrendered four doubles, four triples and three home runs in just 28.1 innings wearing the Old English D.
So why would the Tigers go after a reliever who fans still have nightmares about?
For starters, Feliz was not as bad as the numbers suggest.
His 3.95 FIP indicates he suffered from a bit of bad luck during his time in Detroit. His 23/9 K/BB ratio was very solid, and batters hit an uncharacteristically high .357 on balls in play.
Feliz rebounded in 2016 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and had a great season. He threw 53 2/3 innings, posted a 3.52 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP and struck out 61.
While he wasn’t as successful in 2017, the former All-Star and 2010 Rookie of the Year finished the season with 19 strong innings in Kansas City.
Related Story: Low-cost relievers the Tigers could target
Feliz is healthy and auditioning for a job, and the Tigers should give serious consideration to the former closer. Perhaps pitching in middle relief on a rebuilding team will ease the pressure on the 29-year-old, allowing him to get out there and bring the heat. Feliz averaged 96.5 MPH on his fastball last season, right in line with his career average.