The Brewers are in talks with reliever Neftali Feliz, according to a source on Saturday.
Milwaukee has a need for late-inning relief currently and the veteran right-hander could be the answer. General manager David Stearns declined to comment on the progress of the talks between the Brewers and Feliz.
MLB Network’s John Heyman reported that several teams remained in the mix for Feliz but that the “Brewers remained the clear frontrunner.”
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Neftali Feliz is 28 years old after spending time with the Rangers, Tigers, and Pirates over the course of his career. In 62 appearances for Pittsburgh last season, Feliz posted a 3.52 ERA. He has a history of injuries so a thorough physical exam will be necessary for any team that wishes to sign him.
With the Rangers, Feliz was one of the best young relievers in the game. He was the 2010 American League Rookie of the Year and pitched for the team’s 2010 and 2011 World Series clubs. Injuries limited him for the next few years after that.
Feliz revived his career last year with Pittsburgh. His 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings was his best mark since his 31-innning debut season with Texas in 2009. For the first time since his Tommy John surgery in 2012, his average fastball velocity was above 96 mph.
The Brewers have been in the market for a reliever since trading Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith at the trade deadline last summer. They further depleted their bullpen by dealing Tyler Thornburg to the Red Sox earlier this offseason. Stearns has said that he is still actively seeking relievers, both in free agency and via trades.
If the Brewers do end up signing Neftali Feliz he figures to compete for the Milwaukee closer job. The options on the Brewers’ current roster include Corey Knebel, Carlos Torres, and Jacob Barnes. None of those three have more than two Major League saves.