Ron Washington to Neftali Feliz: show me some fire

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At least he didn’t question his cojones.

Rangers manager Ron Washington wants a more intense Neftali Feliz on the mound the next time his team has a save situation, saying he wants to see some “fire” from the 23-year-old closer.

“I’d like to see more,” Washington told the Dallas Morning News. “When he comes in the game, I want to feel like it’s do or die. I try to tell him all the time how important those three outs are. I just don’t see that sense of urgency.”

Feliz seemed to get just how important they were last year, when he was 40-for-43 saving games. This year, Feliz is 20-for-25 after blowing a one-run lead and taking a loss Tuesday.

Feliz, speaking through an interpreter, didn’t think competitive spirit was an issue:

“Last year I was more nervous,” he said. “Now, I feel more relaxed. I know what I’m doing out there.”

But then again, maybe that’s the problem. Maybe Feliz is just a little too comfortable on the mound. And while Washington doesn’t have a reputation for head games, perhaps this is his way of trying to motivate Feliz.

And if that doesn’t work, may I suggest a hot foot?

Report: Pirates sign Felipe Rivero to four-year contract extension

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.

Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.

Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.

Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”