Report: Neftali Feliz Clears Waivers

Per Chris Cotillo, Neftali Feliz has cleared waivers and "will decide to either elect free agency or accept his outright assignment." 

Feliz has been property of the Rangers since 2007, and played key roles on back-to-back World Series teams. In 2012 Texas converted him to a starter, where he made just 7 starts before blowing out his arm, which ultimately ended his season and effectively closed the book on his experiment in the rotation. 

He returned to minor league action in the summer of 2013, which was around the time he fell out of favor with the organization. We'll never know what was said in private from either side, but it was well known around the Rangers Blogosphere that the front office weren't pleased with Neftali's work ethic while he was rehabbing, nor how seriously he took his assignments. Feliz made six appearances that September, mostly mop-up duty, throwing 4.2 scoreless innings. 

In 2014 there was renewed optimism for Feliz, who was still less than two years removed from Tommy John surgery. Despite diminishing peripherals, including a strikeout percentage that plummeted to just 17.2% -- after 33.3% in 2009; 26.4% in '10; 21.4% in '11; and 21.1% in '12 -- Neftali finished the season with a 1.99 ERA. After a strong September, which included a return to normalcy in the velocity department, Feliz entered 2015 as the odds-on favorite to be the closer, where he began the season. 

Rather than a revelation, 2015 was validation more than anything that, no, Neftali Feliz isn't what he once was. By designating him for assignment, the Rangers weren't hoping to sneak him through the waiver wire so they could outright him from the 40-man roster and tuck him away back at Round Rock. It was deeper than that. 

Though the chance certainly exists, especially since Feliz cleared waivers -- meaning no one was willing to assume his $2 million salary, even if Texas gave him away -- I would be surprised if he pitched another inning in the organization.

I'm just trying to picture a relationship that could take this course, from the Mark Teixeira trade to the Clinton Lumberkings to the Frisco Rough Riders and up for his major league debut in 2009, through the glory years and the ensuing surgeries and ineffectiveness that followed, where the player wound up taking such a public demotion this late in his career. It doesn't usually happen like that. 

The Rangers have given Neftali Feliz every chance to come back and be The Guy again. It didn't work out.