By Gem Tablak
With Greg Holland looking to land a decent deal in the near future with a possible “Opt-out clause” just incase he has a year where he feels like he can land a better deal next year. The Mets don’t seem to be interested in making a play for the former elite reliever.
However, he’s not the only former elite reliever on the board. Another former closer that’s still left in the free agent market is former Rangers closer & Pirates reliever, Neftali Feliz.
Feliz spent most of his years with the Rangers (Approximately 6 1/2 seasons), most notably when he first appeared in the playoffs in the 2010 season & then again in the 2011, where he accumulated 18.2 innings pitched only giving up 8 hits & striking out 23 batters. He held his opponents to a .131 average & possesses a 1.13 WHIP & a 1.93 ERA in 18 career playoff games.
Feliz was eventually let go by the Rangers after experimenting with him in both the rotation & the back end of the bullpen throughout the years. After it was widely speculated that Feliz may be “damaged goods” after the Rangers bounced him back & forth, between the bullpen & rotation, the Rangers would eventually release Feliz & let him leave for the Tigers in the middle of the 2015 season.
Feliz had a ridiculously bad season that year, posting a 6.38 ERA in 48 games while pitching exactly 48 innings. However, the Pirates took a flyer on him in 2016 & it appeared to work out for both sides, team & player.
He would appear in 62 games while pitching 53.2 innings. So while he was used more often, he would average less innings which could of helped his success. He bounced back & put up a 3.52 ERA while also raising his K rate higher than a strike out per inning, so he’s missing bats while for the most part staying in the strike zone.
It’s no secret that the Mets have a need at the back end of the bullpen with Familia likely to be suspended, although no news on any suspension has broken since the incident was reported back in early December, it still remains likely that he will be suspended. So while I’m almost sure the Mets are keeping up tabs with several relievers anywhere in between the Breslow’s & the Holland’s, the Mets should take a good hard look at Feliz & how he was used last season.
When it’s all said & done, he has 99 career saves & an impressive playoff résumé at the age of 28, so why not make the move & if it doesn’t work out the first 20-30 games, cut him loose & move on to plan B, C, or D & wait for Familia to return from his suspension.