Neftali Feliz already cleared to begin throwing program

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When the Rangers placed Neftali Feliz on the disabled list last week, they said his injury was minor. They said he’d be back within two weeks.

So far, it looks like they’re going to be right.

According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Feliz was cleared to begin a throwing program on Wednesday morning and played catch comfortably at a distance of 90 feet in the afternoon.

The 22-year-old closer is eligible to return to the Rangers’ bullpen on May 6 and the Texas training staff is confident that he will be ready to rock by then.

Feliz has a 1.08 ERA through eight relief appearances this season and has successfully converted his first five save opportunities. Darren Oliver and Arthur Rhodes have been handling the ninth inning in his absence.

There is a “one million percent” chance Aroldis Champan will opt-out of his deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that there is a “one million percent” chance Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will opt out once the season ends.

Just going by the math this makes perfect sense, of course.

Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees before the 2017 season. Pursuant to the terms of the deal he’ll make $15 million a year in 2020 and 2021 (he was given an $11 million signing bonus that was finished being paid out last year). This past season the qualifying offer was $17.9 million. Craig Kimbrel of the Cubs just signed a deal that will pay him $16 million in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (he’s making a prorated $16 million this year). Other top closer salaries at the moment include Kenley Jansen ($19,333,334); and Wade Davis ($18 million).

It’s fair to say that Chapman fits into that group and, I think it’s safe to say, more teams would take him than those guys if they were all freely available. As such, Chapman opting out to get more money makes all kinds of sense. Heck, opting out, getting slapped with a qualifying offer, accepting it and then hitting the market unencumbered after the 2020 season would stand him in better financial stead than if he didn’t opt-out in the first place.

The question is whether the Yankees will let it get that far or whether they’ll approach him to renegotiate the final couple of years on the deal or to add some years onto the back of it. If they’re smart they will.