Oakland Athletics’ Top Free Agent Targets for 2016

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Aug 21, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Neftali Feliz (39) pitches in the ninth inning against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Casey Witt: #39 P Neftali Feliz, Detroit Tigers

The Athletics finished with a dreadful 19-35 record in one-run games during the 2015 campaign and will look to shore up the relief corps – whether it be internally, free agency or via trade. One particular name that stands out to me is free agent pitcher Neftali Feliz of the Detroit Tigers.

Feliz made his major league debut for the Texas Rangers on August 3, 2009 and posted promising numbers – which translated into a remarkable World Series run and Rookie of the Year award in 2010, recording 40 of 43 save opportunities (third most in the American League) with a 2.73 earned run average and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 71:18.

The Dominican Republic native replicated these numbers in 2011 and notched 32 saves – as the Rangers made their second consecutive appearance in October’s fall classic. Despite his success, Feliz has had his share of injury struggles. During the 2011 campaign, he had a brief stint on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation; and by May 21, 2012 it had transpired into right elbow inflammation – ultimately forcing him to undergo Tommy John surgery in August 2012.

Since then, the 27-year-old has appeared in 54 games, but looked stronger than ever in 2014 with 13 saves in 14 opportunities – along with a respectable .183 opponents’ batting average.

The 2015 season wasn’t very kind to Feliz or the Athletics. Albeit, the right-hander appears to be the perfect reclamation project for Oakland – who made the league minimum for the Tigers. If the A’s take a flyer on Feliz, a one or two year contract is not out of the question – for an experienced fly ball pitcher, hoping to revive his career.

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Agree? Disagree? Think we forgot someone important? Let us know in the comment which (realistic) free agent you think the A’s should sign, and don’t forget to vote in our fan poll:

Next: Prospect Update: Jacob Nottingham

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