Friday night, following a grim loss to the Twins, former MLB player and current MLB Network analyst Pedro Martinez stated that the Detroit Tigers would be signing right-handed pitcher Neftali Feliz to a major league deal. On Saturday the Tigers made the signing official, announcing Feliz would join the team in Minnesota that same day.
Feliz is a 27-year-old reliever with 93 saves and a career 2.69 ERA, who did well with the Texas Rangers until he underwent Tommy John surgery on Aug. 1, 2012. He returned to the team the following Sept. 2013, but with continuing injuries in 2014 and 2015, the Rangers designated him for assignment. He cleared waivers and elected free agency.
The signing of Feliz is an inexpensive gamble, but Feliz's peripherals, particularly in the last two seasons, have not been encouraging. Between instability and the injuries, it's difficult to know how Feliz will perform in the Tigers' bullpen. The Tigers need all the help they can get, but it needs to be solid pieces.
Feliz will have just under six years of service time after this season, so he would be eligible for another season of arbitration in 2016. He earns a salary of $4.13 million for the 2015 season, but Detroit will have to pay only a pro rated portion of the major league minimum salary, or about $ 250,000 for this season. Texas will pay the balance.
To make room for Feliz on the 25-man roster, the Tigers optioned right-handed pitcher Jeff Ferrell to Triple-A Toledo. Ferrell was initially called up on July 3 and appeared in two games, both in relief.
Ferrell had made just one appearance at the Triple-A level after having a good start in Double-A, but the Tigers needed bullpen help -- again. In his two relief outings -- two innings pitched, an inning apiece -- Ferrell gave up two and one runs on two hits apiece, respectively.