Tigers sign former Rangers closer Neftali Feliz
The Tigers already had former Texas Rangers closers Joe Nathan and Joakim Soria on their roster as part of their bullpen reconstruction efforts the last couple years. With Detroit’s relief corps desperately needing another veteran arm and Neftali Perez suddenly on the market, they went down the familiar path, signing the 27-year-old right-hander for the rest of the season.
Feliz joined the Tigers in Minnesota and was placed on the active roster immediately. Jeff Ferrell, called up last week after one outing at Triple-A Toledo but unused since last Sunday, was optioned back to Toledo to make room.
Feliz is best known for his 40-save season with Texas in 2010, but his most recent work was a rough half-season before the Rangers designated him for assignment last week.
This is Feliz’s second season since Tommy John surgery, which is seen by many as the point when pitchers get back to their old form. In Feliz’s case, though, the results were better last season, even if the stuff has bumped up. He gave up 10 runs on 24 hits over 19 2/3 innings, walking nine and striking out 16. He recorded six saves in nine chances, with a six-week stint on the disabled list mixed in for an axillary absess on his right side.
Feliz’s fastball has averaged 93.8 mph this season, according to Fangraphs, about midway between his 93.1 mph average last year and his 94.7 mph average in 2012 before surgery. The fastball, however, is getting hit more often, for a .374 BABIP according to STATS. He’s throwing more sliders now than he ever has before.
Feliz becomes the latest attempt by the Tigers to catch a reliever on the bounceback from injuries or struggles. They got some good work out of Joba Chamberlain for about two-thirds of last year before he seemed to wear down, but got little out of midseason pickup Jim Johnson. Tom Gorzelanny’s signing last offseason didn’t work out as hoped. Of those three, only Gorzelanny remains, and he’s in Toledo trying to work on his new sidearm throwing angle.