Although the Pittsburgh Pirates have a lot of bullpen pieces already in hand, they will continue to look to improve it for 2017. With that being said there has been a few rumors regarding a few relief options.
Many fans would like to see the Pittsburgh Pirates bring back late inning reliever Neftali Feliz. Feliz had a pretty effective season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He saw most of his action come in the 7th inning with some in the 8th and 9th. Feliz had an up and down season. If you look at his numbers: pre-Allstar game he had an earned run average of 2.88; Post All-star Game he had an earned run average of 4.66. After the one outing he had in September it was announced that he was having some arm issues. He was shut down for the rest of the season.
According to MLB.com’s Pirates beat writer Adam Berry, the Pittsburgh Pirates were interested in retaining Feliz for at-least the 2017 season. Berry reports that the Bucs and Feliz had talks throughout the 2016 season about an extending. Obviously nothing came of it.
The Pirates discussed a multi-year extension with Feliz during the season, according to industry sources, but couldn’t come to terms. Pittsburgh won’t rule out re-signing him, though he should find a healthy market as a 28-year-old former closer who struck out 10.2 batters per nine innings last season.
MLBTR projects Feliz to get a contract of three years at six million per year. This should be doable for the Pittsburgh Pirates. One thing that could be stopping the Bucs from moving on that type of deal is the three years. Feliz has a relatively extensive injury history and the Bucs may not want to commit that many years because of his health.
The other note Berry made was that the Pittsburgh Pirates were in attendance for Greg Holland‘s open work out. For those who may not know Greg Holland is a former all-star closer returning from his late 2015 Tommy-John Surgery. Holland missed all of 2016 as he went through rehab. He is an intriguing option as he was one of the top five closers in baseball before going under the knife. He owns a career 2.42 earned run average, and a strike-out rate of 12.4 batters per nine innings. The two-time all-star had back to back 40+ save seasons in 2013 and 2014.
With that there was a total of 18 teams in attendance for Hollands bullpen session. Many teams know that he could be a cheaper alternative to the big free agents closers like Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon. MLBTR predicts Holland to get a two-year contract. He will likely land a deal that will be filled with incentives as he proves his health in 2017.
The Pittsburgh Pirates already have a few late innings bullpen arms in Tony Watson and Felipe Rivero. However, with Watson struggling in the ninth inning last season and Rivero being inexperienced it makes sense for them to try and add another piece. Finally, the off-season is really starting to pick up!
All Rumors in article are from Adam Berry of MLB.com