Blog Entry

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

Posted on: November 21, 2011 8:11 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 11:02 pm
 
By Matt Snyder

The Texas Rangers have signed former Twins closer Joe Nathan, the team announced Monday night. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the deal is for two years and $14.5 million with a club option for 2014.

The plan all along was to move Neftali Feliz into the starting rotation, and this signing only reinforces those plans -- with Mike Adams and Joe Nathan now forming the back-end of the Texas bullpen. Feliz has been told he's moving to the rotation.

“Jon Daniels and Ron Washington called me a couple of days ago and told me about the team’s decision for me to be a starting pitcher next season," Feliz said in a statement. "I was a starter for my whole career before I came to the major leagues. I am happy to know the team’s decision this early, and I have plenty of time to get ready. I have already started running."

Nathan was one of baseball's premier closers from 2004-09. He was a four-time All-Star who twice finished in the top five of Cy Young voting. His average season in that stretch was 41 saves with a 1.87 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 86 strikeouts in 70 innings. That would be a career year for many, many pitchers, but that was the average season for Nathan.

Closing Time
But then he tore the ulnar-collateral ligament in his right (throwing) elbow prior to the 2010 season and needed to have Tommy John surgery. It caused him to miss all of 2010. In 2011, Nathan wasn't himself in the early going, as he probably just wasn't fully recovered. From his June 25 return to the end of the season, Nathan had 11 saves and six holds against just one blown save with a 3.38 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and nearly a strikeout per inning. Given a full offseason, it's possible Nathan gets closer back to previous form, though at age 37 (it's actually his birthday Tuesday), the odds of him getting all the way back to pre-surgery form aren't great.

If your favorite team is still in need of a closer, don't fret. Heath Bell, Ryan Madson, Francisco Cordero and Francisco Rodriguez are still free agents along with cheaper options like Jonathan Broxton, Matt Capps and Brad Lidge. Plus, Huston Street and Andrew Bailey appear to be available via trade.

Finally, with Feliz's official move to the rotation, the odds of the Rangers letting free agent starter C.J. Wilson walk increase. Feliz will likely join the foursome of Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and either Alexi Ogando or Scott Feldman. If the Rangers do choose to re-up with Wilson, both Ogando and Feldman could pitch out of the bullpen.

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Comments

Since: May 18, 2010
Posted on: November 22, 2011 8:20 am
 

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

I am constantly surprised with how much gm's waste on these free agent signings. 7+ million for a 37 years old reliever that is coming off of surgery and hasn't been good for 2 years, it's insane!!!! Nathan was a great closer and he could have a good year or 2 but this is anything but a sure bet for 7+ million per year.



Since: May 4, 2009
Posted on: November 22, 2011 7:56 am
 

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

You have to remember that Feliz was groomed as a starting pitcher all the way through the minors, so it s not like he has no experience in that regard. He'll have plenty of time to re-train himself for his new role. Also look at what Alexi Ogondo did for most of the year in his first year as a starter, he just ran out of gas at the end. A full off-season for both of these guys should help them be able to finish off the year strong.



Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 7:49 am
 

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

I wonder what the Texas Rangers fans expect from Neftali Feliz? Hopefully they're not expecting his ERA to be 2.75 or better. If they are expecting better than a 4.00 ERA then chances are they will be disappointed. In general your ERA is higher as a starter than a reliever because it's harder to hit a guy once a game over 3 or more times a game.

I also don't like this move because it adds to the risk of injuries. Anyone remember Joba Chamberlain how he went from reliever to starter? He sucked as a starter so they moved him back to the pen and he's not been the same ever since. But of course the Rangers fans are only gonna look at the rare case like C.J. Wilson over the common cases like Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain.



Since: Mar 13, 2007
Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:01 am
 

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

You are correct Yankee homer... They won't get by the Yankees because the Yankees won't make it that far ! Now the Rangers will go after Fielder and have the best lineup in baseball....



Since: Jul 7, 2007
Posted on: November 22, 2011 1:50 am
 

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

The Rangers also purchased the contract of Martin Perez, their minor league stud starting pitcher.  We'll see how the rotation sets up and if Perez stays up with the club.  But the Rangers can now shop from a position of want rather than need.



Since: Oct 24, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 12:36 am
 

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

put another wild man into the closer role from hence the other wild man came from!!! and at 14 mil for 2 yrs...NICE!! UUGH



Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 12:22 am
 

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

wow ! i cant believe he got $14.5 mil, He still didnt have that great of a year last year.
It understanding that Nathan had a off year since it's take time to fully recovery from his injuries



Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 12:20 am
 

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

Was hard not to notice just how brilliant Nathan was for years, even as a Ranger fan.  I trust this teams ability to sign talent, so I assume he's got enough left to justify that contract.  If so, this could be a monumental move for them.



Since: Feb 8, 2009
Posted on: November 22, 2011 12:16 am
 

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

Hopefully by moving Feliz to the rotation, the Rangers are out of the running for Yu Darvish(if he posts that is)



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: November 21, 2011 11:59 pm
 

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

wow, i cant believe he got $14.5 mil.  He still didnt have that great of a year last year.  Got better towards the end of the year but not bounce back in my eyes.  should be interesting to see how long feliz lasts in the starting rotation bc he was great in the closing role and I think he should stay there.

At first I was thinking the same thing but Nolan Ryan knows a thing or two about pitchers.... if he says Feliz will be a great starter, then until he's proven wrong you can't really argue with the guy.


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