Neftali Feliz took over as the Rangers’ closer following the trade of Joakim Soria, filling the ninth-inning role he once thrived in, but the post-Tommy John surgery version of Feliz has unfortunately looked much different.
Feliz has a nice-looking 2.78 ERA in 21 appearances, but he’s managed just 14 strikeouts in 23 innings while walking eight batters and serving up five homers. He’s also averaged 92.5 miles per hour on his fastball, compared to 96.3 miles per hour in 2010-2011 when he was racking up saves.
Feliz is still just 26 years old and some pitchers simply take longer than other to regain their best raw stuff after going under the knife, but manager Ron Washington admitted to Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas that he’s “still trying to figure it out” regarding Feliz’s up-and-down velocity.
Also of note: Feliz told Watkins that he wants more consistent usage because “when I take too many days off, my arm doesn’t feel too good.”
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.