Neftali Feliz was on the Triple-A disabled list with arm soreness and inflammation as he struggled to come back from Tommy John elbow surgery, but now the former Rangers closer is healthy again and pitching well.
Feliz has thrown back-to-back scoreless appearances at Triple-A and has a 17/4 K/BB ratio in 16 innings overall. He’s had a couple ugly appearances that inflate his ERA to 4.02, but Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that his fastball is regularly being clocked at 92-96 miles per hour and suggests that he might already be back in the majors if not for the Rangers’ bullpen being crowded at the moment.
Prior to being shut down Feliz was one of the elite relievers in baseball, posting a 2.55 ERA and 164 strikeouts in 163 innings, and then he looked to be transitioning well into becoming a starter in 2012 before the injury struck. Velocity-wise it sounds like he’s still not quite back to his old self, but a Feliz throwing 92-96 miles per hour can certainly still be a big asset in the second half for Texas.
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.