Phillies make intriguing signing of former All-Star reliever

Neftali Feliz #30, formerly of the Texas Rangers (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Neftali Feliz #30, formerly of the Texas Rangers (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Phillies have signed right-hander Neftali Feliz to a minor-league contract.

As the saying goes, things tend to come in threes. Following their recent veteran minor-league signings of infielder Ronald Torreyes and catcher Christian Bethancourt, the Philadelphia Phillies have reportedly also added a veteran right-handed pitcher Neftali Feliz, according to Silfredo Melo — who reports from the reliever’s Dominican Republic hometown.

All three deals come with invitations to big-league camp, which is currently scheduled to get underway in two months down in Clearwater, Florida.

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Feliz, 32, was signed by the Atlanta Braves back in 2005 as an amateur free agent. Ahead of the July 2007 trade deadline, however, the Phillies division rival traded him, along with a prospect and notable players Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, to the Texas Rangers. In return, the Rangers received Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay.

Feliz wound up making his big-league debut as a 21-year-old in August 2009 for the Rangers, tossing two scoreless innings while striking out four batters. His 20 outings to finish the final two months of the season were stellar, posting a 1.74 ERA and 0.677 WHIP. His early career success carried over into 2010, earning him Rookie of the Year honors and his first and only to-date All-Star nod. Spanning 70 appearances and 59 games finished, Feliz went 4-3 with a 2.73 ERA, 0.880 WHIP, and 71-18 strikeouts-to-walks ratio across 69 1/3 innings.

Along with the Rangers (2009-15), Feliz has also pitched for the Detroit Tigers (2015), Pittsburgh Pirates (2016), Milwaukee Brewers (2017), and Kansas City Royals (2017). He pitched parts of the 2015 season under Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, then of the Tigers.

Combined through his nine-year career, Feliz has gone 21-19 with a 3.49 ERA spanning 357 appearances, seven of which were starts for the Rangers in 2012. More recently, Feliz has pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate in 2018.

Feliz had notable success in the 2010 ALCS against the New York Yankees and the World Series against the San Francisco Giants, tossing six scoreless innings on nine strikeouts, allowing only one hit and two walks.

Phillies manager Joe Girardi saw the postseason dominance from Feliz first-hand as the Yankees skipper in 2010. More than a decade later, he, along with new pitching coach Caleb Cotham, will look for him to recapture that magic in red pinstripes.

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