Astros sign Pedro Feliz to one-year deal

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Enrique Rojas of ESPN reports that the Astros have agreed to a one-year, $4 million contract with third baseman Pedro Feliz. Feliz became a free agent last month when the Phillies declined his $5 million option for 2010, but he managed to find another starting job for just $1 million less. Of course, he had to go from the back-to-back National League champs to the 74-win Astros to make that happen.
Feliz was once an excellent defensive third baseman with enough power to make up for low batting averages and horrible on-base percentages, but at 35 years old his glove is now merely very good and he hit a measly .266/.308/.386 with just 12 homers in 158 games for the Phillies in 2009. That works out to a .694 OPS, ranking 143rd among the 155 players who qualified for the batting title, and his OPS in the previous four seasons were .705, .708, .709, and .717.
For a contending team with a couple holes that need to be filled cheaply Feliz’s good glove, weak bat combo might still bring a little value to the table, but for a mediocre team like the Astros with all kinds of issues to address he makes little sense. Of course, neither did handing $15 million to Brandon Lyon, so it’s possible “make little sense” is actually general manager Ed Wade’s offseason goal. If you can’t be ’em, confuse ’em.

Jon Gray will start Opening Day for the Rockies

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Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.

Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.

The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.

Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.

Blake Treinen named Nationals closer

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Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.

There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.

Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.