The Phillies and 32-year-old right-handed reliever Neftali Feliz have agreed to a minor-league contract, according to Silfredo Melo, a reporter in Feliz’ hometown of Azua in the Dominican Republic. The deal includes an invite to spring training.
Feliz has not appeared in the majors since 2017. He came up with the Rangers in 2009 and won AL Rookie of the Year in 2010. He made the All-Star team that year, too, saving 40 games with a 2.73 ERA.
From 2009-14, Feliz had a 2.53 ERA in 198 appearances. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012 and struggled thereafter with health and results. He had a 5.06 ERA with five different teams from 2015-17 and has been forced to sign a minor-league deal three years in a row.
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The Phillies last offseason neglected the bullpen aside from the one-year deal for Tommy Hunter and a series of low-risk, reclamation signings a la Feliz. A year ago around this time, the Phils brought in Drew Storen, Bud Norris, Francisco Liriano and Anthony Swarzak on similar deals and none of them made the team.
The Phillies need a lot of relief help this offseason after their historically bad bullpen work in 2020. With how thin their ‘pen is, they’d likely benefit more from bringing in multiple solid relievers than one expensive closer like Liam Hendriks.
New president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski knows that whether the team can spend a ton this offseason or not, the bullpen requires immediate attention. Joe Girardi said earlier this week he expects the bullpen to be Dombrowski’s priority.