Brendan Donnelly has announced his retirement, ending what was a remarkable career for someone who didn’t reach the majors for the first time until age 30 and was never allowed to join the MLB players’ association.
Donnelly spent a decade in the minors pitching for six different organizations–and was a spring training replacement player during the 1994/1995 strike–before the Angels finally gave him a shot in 2002.
He thrived immediately, posting a 2.17 ERA in 50 innings to emerge as a key late-inning reliever on a World Series-winning team and then followed it up with a 1.58 ERA in 74 innings the next season while making the All-Star team with a ridiculous 0.38 first-half ERA.
Donnelly and his trademark goggles remained effective into his mid-30s and even showed flashes of his old dominant self for a brief stint with the Marlins as a 37-year-old in 2007, but injuries set him back numerous times and combined with the extremely late start to equal just 385 career innings (or 259 fewer than he threw in the minors).
The Brewers have signed Neftali Feliz to a one-year, $5.35 million contract. There are some performance incentives in the deal that could push it to $6.85 million. Feliz will likely open the 2017 season as the Brewers’ closer.
The 28-year-old righty is coming off of an impressive season with the Pirates. His hits allowed per nine innings were WAY down and his WHIP dipped sharply as well, despite the fact that he walked a few more dudes. That was offset by a big spike in his strikeout rate: from 7.3/9IP in 2015 to 10.2 last year. A blemish: he missed the last month of the season after suffering a bout of arm soreness, though no structural problem was ever uncovered, he’ll likely be good to go next month.
The Miami Marlins have acquired starting pitcher Dan Straily from the Cincinnati Reds. In exchange, the Reds will receive right-handed pitching prospects Luis Castillo and Austin Brice and outfield prospect Isaiah White.
For the Marlins, they get a solid starter who logged 191.1 innings of 113 ERA+ ball last year. Straily has moved around a lot in his five big league seasons — the Marlins will be his fifth club in six years — but it was something of a breakout year for him in Cincinnati. The only troubling thing: he tied for the league lead in homers allowed. Of course, pitching half of his games in Great American Ballpark didn’t help that, and Miami will be a better place for him.
Castillo is 24. He split last season between high-A and Double-A — far more of it in A-ball — posting a 2.26 ERA over 24 starts. Austin Brice is also 24. He pitched 15 games in relief for the Marlins last year at the big league level with poor results. He seemed to blossom at Triple-A, however, after the Marlins shifted him to the pen. White was a third round pick in the 2015 draft. He played low-A ball as a minor leaguer last year, hitting .214/.306/.301.
A mixed bag of young talent for the Reds, but stockpiling kids and seeing what shakes out is what a team like the Reds should be doing at the moment. For the Marlins: a solid mid-to-back end starter who may just be coming into his own.