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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Since: May 2, 2007
Posted on: November 21, 2011 10:09 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.

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: November 21, 2011 9:45 pm

Rangers sign Joe Nathan to two-year deal

Not sure about this one Ranger$...Nathan may have bounced back, but he`s not that young or dominant any more. Moving Feliz is no sure thing as he`ll have to learn to pitch from scratch. Guess it`s better than Lidge or Broxton who most certainly break down. Guess the Nolan Ryan convert a closer to SP strategy is gold. CJ Wilson is gonna get overpaid and replacing him from within is far less expensive. As long as the Ranger$ lineup remains loaded the AL West is theirs. I`d add more than just Adams as Nathan will wilt in the heat. 

Since: Sep 16, 2008
Posted on: November 21, 2011 9:42 pm

Rangers sign Joe Nathan to two-year deal

Sad to see Nathan go as he had a good career in Minnesota

Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: November 21, 2011 9:42 pm

Rangers sign Joe Nathan to two-year deal

Everyone can stop wasting their time responding to the Yankee homer.  you can show him that they Rangers slapped them in 6 two years ago and then the Yanks did not even make it far enough to play the Rangers.  He will still tell you that the Yankees were better then he will go back to all the world series wins over the past 100 years.  

Bottomline,  The Rangers are in their Prime and the Yankees are getting old.. ARod is at the end and Jeter's range is so bad he wishes Mark Walburg would really shoot him.  Sorry Yankee are going no where next year.

Since: Jul 21, 2007
Posted on: November 21, 2011 9:39 pm

Rangers sign Joe Nathan to two-year deal

Just what are the Yankees going to win on? Sabathia and Ivan Nova? Nova is so young sure he'll likely win a few in the regular season with three 100 rbi men in the starting lineup. But that's pretty thin depth to say the Yanks will beat Texas, Tampa Bay, Detroit or anyone else out there next year.

I like the Rangers signing Nathan. Iwasn't convinced Feliz had the right temperment for a closer. Sure he had a good year last year, but he was very shaky in the playoffs this year. I'd like to see him excel as a starter. That would aid the Rangers tremendously.

Since: May 8, 2007
Posted on: November 21, 2011 9:34 pm

Rangers sign Joe Nathan to two-year deal

Can you really see the Rangers signing CJ Wilson now? I sincerely doubt it, because there really isn't a major need. if they were to spend that kind of money, it'll be on Yu Darvish (assuming he's posted), otherwise their rotation should be just fine, with the potential to be very strong even without the addition of Darvish or retention of Wilson. Feliz could have some serious potential in the rotation.

If the Rangers do anything else this offseason, my bet is on Darvish, but I wouldn't rule them out of the Prince Fielder sweepstakes. There aren't a pile of teams lining up to offer Fielder, or Pujols big contracts, and the Rangers may just be equipped to do that. This team could be even scarier than it was before, all with the addition of a closer.  

Since: Apr 29, 2007
Posted on: November 21, 2011 9:16 pm

Rangers sign Joe Nathan to two-year deal

Could have swore that was the Yankees that the Rangers beat in the play-offs 2 years ago and that the Rangers have represented the AL in the world series the last 2 years instead of these Yankees you talk about.

Since: Oct 11, 2008
Posted on: November 21, 2011 9:15 pm

Rangers sign Joe Nathan to two-year deal

yeah well what happened to them this year got be by the better team the TIGERS LOL

Since: Dec 15, 2010
Posted on: November 21, 2011 9:00 pm

Rangers sign Joe Nathan to two-year deal

will improve the team, but still wont be able to beat the Yankees.

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