The Rangers are hoping that Neftali Feliz can retake the closer’s role after Joe Nathan departed for the Tigers, but according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, his mechanics are “out of whack” in the early going. Grant writes that Feliz is not getting his arm extended enough to generate velocity, which is Feliz’s calling card.
If the Rangers aren’t happy with Feliz’s performance in spring training, Joakim Soria could wind up as the closer. Soria missed all of the 2012 and more than half of the 2013 season after recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He finished with a 3.80 ERA in 23 2/3 innings with the Rangers between July and September last season. From 2007-10, he was one of baseball’s elite closers with the Royals.
Free agent lefty reliever Aaron Loup has been given a locker in the Padres’ clubhouse, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reported Sunday. Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Loup received a one-year MLB deal with a club option for 2020. The Padres will shift right-hander Garrett Richards to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.
Loup, 31, began the 2018 season with the Blue Jays and was traded to the Phillies for minor league right-hander Jacob Waguespack at the midseason deadline. The veteran left-hander pitched just two innings in Philadelphia before hitting the injured list with a forearm strain and returned for a handful of appearances at the end of the year, bringing him up to a 4.54 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 10.0 SO/9, and 0.3 fWAR across 39 2/3 combined innings.
Assuming health issues don’t complicate his next campaign in San Diego, Loup will be added to the bullpen alongside fellow left-handers Matt Strahm and José Castillo (with the possible late addition of southpaw reliever Brad Wieck, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer earlier this year). There are worse places to be — according to FanGraphs, the Padres’ ‘pen jumped from second-worst in 2017 to second-best in the league with a cumulative 3.53 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 8.7 fWAR in 2018.