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Blue Jays: A look at 8 non-tendered free agent pitchers

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Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Neftali Feliz (27)
2015:  48.0 IP  |  6.38 ERA  |  1.563 WHIP

Talk about bad timing. From 2009 to 2014, the former Texas Ranger was one of the best young relievers in the game with an early track record as a dominant closer. One dud season, and here he is surrounded by questions on the open market.

Feliz was designated for assignment by the Rangers this past June and eventually signed with the Detroit Tigers, where his already lousy performance took a further step back. By the end of the season, he had a cumulative MLB ERA of 6.38 with a 4.05 FIP.

His strikeout totals have never matched the early years of his career, but he’s put up multiple strong seasons without topping 7.8 K/9 since 2011. His velocity didn’t show much of a noticeable variance in 2015 either, but the trouble lied mostly in his fastball which regressed significantly in its effectiveness.

This is a control issue that we can link to his 2012 Tommy John surgery, one which wiped out nearly all of his 2013 season. He also ran into injuries in 2014, so it’s safest to draw a hard line at the time of his T.J. and only consider what’s happened since. Some have speculated he may need to take a “prove it” deal to re-establish his Major League value, but keeping up with the nature of the market, Chris Cotillo reported earlier in the week that Feliz is expected to find a guaranteed deal without much issue.

This is an impact arm with closer’s experience and, barring elbow setbacks, many years of pitching still ahead. Regardless of his destination, the medicals will be combed through at great length. High risk, decent reward.

Next: Speaking of arms recovering from Tommy John surgery...

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