Despite tying up a significant portion of their payroll in Kenley Jansen last month, the Dodgers are still looking for bullpen help. According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the club is reportedly considering free agent right-hander Neftali Feliz among other late-inning candidates.
Feliz, 28, signed a one-year, $3.9 million deal with the Pirates prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to a 3.52 ERA over 53 2/3 innings with Pittsburgh, nearly halving his 2015 ERA and recording a career-best 10.2 SO/9 to boot. Although he was shut down for the last month of the season due to arm discomfort, no structural damage was found and the right-hander appears to have a clean bill of health as he approaches a 2017 run.
The Nationals were connected to Feliz in early December, but no serious contract talks have been reported as of yet. While the 28-year-old has a lengthy history of arm/elbow injuries and less-than-stellar command, his improved velocity, recent success off the mound and relatively young age should give the Dodgers some peace of mind should they choose to pursue him.
Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.
While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.
Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:
Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.
Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.
Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.
Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.
The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.