A lot can change in seven days.
Neftali Feliz said just one week ago that he would prefer to remain in the bullpen, but he was singing a very different tune after tossing four innings of one-run ball against the Dodgers this afternoon.
According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Feliz is now on board with the idea of being a starting pitcher.
“That’s what we’re working for,” he said. “Right now, [his goal] is to start.”
What changed his mind? Well, Feliz has newfound confidence in his cutter, a pitch which expands his arsenal and could help him navigate tough American League lineups. The 22-year-old right-hander also had a conversation with Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux last week, where he may or may not have been informed about how much more money he could make as a starting pitcher in the long run.
The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that the club signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million contract.
Mathis, 33, isn’t much with the stick as he owns a career .197/.254/.308 triple-slash line over parts of 12 seasons in the majors. The veteran, though, is well-regarded for his ability to play defense, call games, handle a pitching staff, and get along with his teammates in the clubhouse. As Craig mentioned last year, Mathis is often talked about as a future manager.
The D-Backs non-tendered Welington Castillo on Friday, so Chris Herrmann and Mathis are the team’s two catchers as presently constructed.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins wants to continue playing in 2017.
Rollins, 38, signed a minor league deal with the White Sox for the 2016 season but hit a disappointing .221/.295/.329 over 166 plate appearances. The club released Rollins in the middle of June and he did not sign with a new team. He did join TBS as part of their playoff coverage.
Rollins is almost certainly looking at another minor league contract and will have to earn his way onto a major league roster by performing well in spring training.