Neftali Feliz wasn't going to go to arbitration with the Texas Rangers. Partly because he deserves better and partly because the Rangers haven't gone to arbitration with a player since 2000 with Lee Stevens.
So it was no shock that the Rangers came to an agreement with Feliz on Thursday to give him a pretty nice raise for one year to be their closer in 2015 after he resurfaced last year following a season-and-a-half layoff thanks to Tommy John surgery.
Feliz put up good numbers after returning to the bigs in July after he'd started the season in the minors when he lost his closer's job to Joakim Soria. He posted a 1.99 ERA and converted 13 of his 14 save chances, but he was rarely overly impressive in doing so.
In fact, his 5.97 K/9 innings was the fourth lowest number among 45 pitchers to have at least 10 save opportunities and far less than his previous career numbers when he was bringing 100-mph heat and a pretty sick off-speed pitch to go along with it.
Feliz showed flashes of that last season, but the problem was showing it consistently. He'd have one night when he was throwing 99 mph with pinpoint command and then come back the next night struggling to break 92 mph.
Maybe a full two years since his surgery will remedy that, but chances are it won't. Feliz doesn't have the command and secondary stuff to survive with low-90s fastballs, so the Rangers better hope he can rediscover his heat on a consistent basis, or he might not be the closer for long.