The Royals have signed reliever Neftali Feliz, pending a physical, according to Fox Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal. The Royals have yet to announce the deal or make a corresponding roster move. The 29-year old right-hander is a former Rookie of the Year with 107 career saves in his ten-year Major League career with the Rangers, Tigers, Pirates, and Brewers.
Feliz signed a one-year $5.35 million deal with the Brewers last winter, but was released just over two months into the deal when he posted a 6.00 ERA with 21 strikeouts and 15 walks in 27 innings, with eight home runs allowed. He converted eight-of-nine save opportunities, and held opponents scoreless in 17 of his 24 outings. Opponents have hit .232/.330/.535 against him, with the longball being his biggest weak spot.
Feliz can still bring heat, averaging 96 mph with his fastball this year, to go with a slider and changeup. He posted a 3.52 ERA last year with the Pirates with 61 striekouts in 53 2⁄3 innings, although he gave up ten home runs. He has a history of injuries including Tommy John surgery in 2012.
Feliz may be assigned to Omaha to work back to the big leagues, or he could join the team this weekend. The Royals would need to clear a spot on the active roster and 40-man roster to make room for him. Since Feliz is still owed money by the Brewers, the Royals are likely only paying him the league minimum. Feliz could replace Matt Strahm, who has moved to the starting rotation, joining Kelvin Herrera, Joakim Soria, Peter Moylan, and Mike Minor as late inning options.