Padres Reportedly Checking in on Neftali Feliz & Erick Aybar

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Credit: Sporting News
Credit: Sporting News

The San Diego Padres are slowing gaining momentum on pursuing changes for the 2017 season.

Derek Norris, Tyson Ross, Alexi Amarista, Jon Edwards, Jose Pirela, Erik Johnson, and Hector Sanchez are all gone, though the team has reportedly expressed major interest in re-signing Ross to a new deal. It remains to be seen if he will entertain the Padres’ offer or move on with his baseball career.

A.J. Preller is on the prowl for players as the current 40-man roster has seven available spots on it. There are rumors swirling that the team is shopping Yangervis Solarte and a 2-for-1 deal could be in the works for the Friars.

On the free agent market, the Padres are going to take it slow. The team is built for the future so there is no sense in trying to sign Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo, or Edwin Encarnacion. Its okay though, as the team is doing things correctly this time around with their rebuild.

The Padres are a young ball club, and instead of trying to add a major piece now, they must instead spend their money wisely and acquire undervalued players. These players can be utilized for the future or they can be flipped for key prospects and such that will further strengthen the Padres chances at a playoff push in the near future.

The first report comes from A.J. Cassavell, who states that the Friars and Erick Aybar have had initial conversations regarding a potential contract for the 2017 season. The team seems satisfied with Luis Sardinas for the most part, but at the same time they need depth at the position and the switch-hitter would provide that. The Padres have also stated that they want a competition for the starting 2017 shortstop job. There will be some free agents brought in at the position. Aybar could be the first of several that the Padres take a look at.

Aybar is coming off a year in which he played for the Braves and Tigers. In 415 at bats, he hit three homers and drove in 34 runs while recording a  .243/.303/.320 batting line. Nothing impressive about those numbers. Aybar is average at best defensively and at this point in his career he is probably better suited for a backup role or a utility player role. We will see what the Padres do in regards to Aybar. He will surely have to take a pay cut from the $8 million he made last season.

The Padres need for pitching is evident and right-handed reliever Neftali Feliz could be a decent option.

Feliz has closed before and though the Padres don’t need a closer at the moment, he could be given the opportunity with the Padres. Brandon Maurer is the teams’ current closer, but he could slide into a setup role or possibly be moved this winter. Starting appears to be out of the equation when it comes to Maurer, but you still never know. The team also has Carter Capps on the roster, but he is coming off Tommy John surgery and a bit of a question mark. Feliz could easily get closing opportunities if that is what he is looking for.

Last season for the Pirates, Feliz was 4-2 in 62 games. He recorded a 3.52 ERA and a 1.137 WHIP in 53 innings while striking out 61 batters. He owns a career 3.22 ERA and a 1.104 WHIP in over 340 innings at the major league level. Feliz has earned 99 saves in the majors and at the age of 28, is still very young. In fact, I was pretty shocked that he was still in his 20s. It feels like he has been pitching in the league forever.

Of the two rumors, this seems the most likely. Feliz earned $3.7 million last year in a pretty effective year, so he will probably get a raise. If the Padres are aggressive they could offer him a multi-year deal and possibly keep him in the pen long-term. They could also sign him knowing that every year around the trade deadline, teams are looking for bullpen help. Having an influx of arms in the pen is not a bad thing to have, and the Padres are presently doing well in that position. Maurer, Brad Hand, Ryan Buchter, Kevin Quackenbush, and company are a definite positive for the team at the moment.

1 thought on “Padres Reportedly Checking in on Neftali Feliz & Erick Aybar

  1. I wouldn’t mind seeing either one of these guys join the Padres. I truly think that Sardinas will reach his potential now that he will hopefully earn a starters role, but having Aybar as security blanket for a young team would be nice. As for Feliz, he would be the perfect guy to bring in and close until the deadline and then the Padres could move Capps into the role. With Feliz, Maurer, Capps, Buchter and Hand all in the pen, the Padres could actually win a few games early if they get any sort of starting pitching. I hope the Padres can cash in on Hand or Buchter this off season, but even if they trade one of them, that is still a nice back end of the bullpen.

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