After trading Tyler Thornburg to the Boston Red Sox earlier in the offseason, the Milwaukee Brewers have been on the hunt for a sure arm to fill the closer role.
Signing Neftali Feliz to a one-year, $5.35 million deal seems to be the answer the Brewers had been looking for.
Feliz last played for Pittsburgh in 2016, where he posted a 3.52 ERA over 53.2 innings pitched. After a terrible year in 2015 in Detroit and Texas, posting a combined 6.38 ERA, he settled down in Pittsburgh last season striking out 61 batters while only walking 21.
He also has a history of excellence at the closer position. In only his second year in the majors, he earned an All-Star spot in the bullpen finishing 2010 with a 2.73 ERA and 40 saves.
Rumors had been flying all weekend as to whether Feliz was on the cusp of signing with the Brewers, but a physical was crucial in deciding whether he would be signed or not. Back in 2012, Feliz had to have Tommy John surgery and the Brewers were thus concerned as to if his elbow was still holding up after sitting out most of the end of the 2016 season with arm fatigue.
Feliz’s contract, while not massive, also leaves room for him to gain another $1.5 million, which one could guess is based on if he becomes the regular closer and his performance in that role.
With the bullpen in flux after trading away best friends Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith, who also anchored the bullpen in most of 2016 for the Brewers, a pitcher with as much experience as Feliz will hopefully add some consistency.