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: Mar 26, 2008
Posted on: November 23, 2011 11:07 am

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

It won't matter. They will never win world series with Washington as manager.

Since: May 18, 2010
Posted on: November 22, 2011 10:45 pm

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

mzracing---2010 + 2011 Nathan was not terribly valuable---that is 2 seasons---pretty easy math. 7 million is what you pay a premier reliever and Nathan was definately that in 2009 but there is alot more risk of downside with the deal than upside. Of course with any deal Nathan could over perform and that would be awesome for the Rangers.

Since: Dec 24, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 6:52 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Mar 8, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 5:55 pm

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

Nathan is a quality guy and I really hope for the best for him.  He was a solid steady presence for my Twins for many years. He is good for a strikeout an inning, but he is also good for a lead-off walk, a couple hard-struck singles and some increased heartbeats lately as well. I hate seeing a player his age undergo such a big surgery and not come back as quickly as he'd like. If his slider is working, he can rip through an inning with just his slider and fastball. If his slider gets loose, he can be very hittable.  Reputation and presence go a long way with closers, though, and Joe has both.  Good luck with the Rangers, Joe. Just glad you went to a respectable team.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:59 pm

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

Moving Feliz to the rotation obviously offsets the loss of Wilson (assuming that he is gone)

I wouldn't go that fan, no way.  In his first season as a starter Wilson had a 3.30 and pitched a lot of innings.  Last year his era dropped below 3, all of that in a hitters park.   If Nolan Ryan thinks Feliz is going to be a good starter, I'm ok with that because his name is Nolan Ryan.  If he likes Nathan for 14 million dollars, I'm cool with that too as I already pointed out.  But no way does Feliz automatically replace Wilson, and this is one place not even Nolan Ryan could change my mind because the numbers prove that Wilson is an excellent starting pitching in the big leagues. 

If people want to say that Feliz is better value from a financial perspective then fine, that MIGHT be true.  But to compare a pitcher that has proven he's a damn good starter with a young reliever that's going from a closing role to a starter is just crazy. 

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: November 22, 2011 2:56 pm

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

I'm not surprised at 14 million for 2 years or 7 million per season.   Veteran relievers with Nathan's resume don't come cheap.  Last season was a good tune-up for the guy, 14 for 17 with a 1.2 whip.  Not a good era but that's ok..... he'll be fine.    It sounds like an expensive deal but unless you're dealing with a kid in his first 3 or 4 seasons and rolling the dice, baseball is an expensive game. Players all over the league are overpaid so much it's not even funny.   If Nathan returns to even close to old form, this will end up being a steal for the Rangers.  If he doesn't, who cares?  It's 14 million dollars in a league that doesn't have a hard cap.....

Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 2:43 pm

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

Great signing for the Rangers.  Moving Feliz to the rotation obviously offsets the loss of Wilson (assuming that he is gone).  I still believe that the Rangers end up with an Oswalt or a Buerle (if they don't resign Wilson), so already good rotation should be that much better.  I like what they have done the last few years and hope to see them in the WS again (against my Phillies of course).  Fun, exciting team.

Since: Nov 28, 2007
Posted on: November 22, 2011 2:21 pm

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

Good signing for Texas allows them to put Feliz in the rotation while leaving their bullpen strong. You can never have enough starting pitching and if you end up with extra can always turn a good starter into a quality bat or an blue chip prospect. As a Yankees fan and a Braves fan I can appreciate how the Rangers are building their team, build through the farm system and sign free agents to fill any holes in the lineup/bullpen.

Since: Nov 22, 2011
Posted on: November 22, 2011 11:26 am

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

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Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 9:45 am

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

Joba Chamberlain was also a starter all the way through the minors. So you can't use that as a deciding factor of how Neftali Feliz will turn out. The reason Chamberlain's arm got ruined is because they didn't let him stretch it out. He instantly went from 1-2 innings as a reliever to instantly 5-6 innings as a starter and then instantly going back to 1-2 innings as a reliever.

If they had went from 1-2 innings to 3 innings the first month then 5 the second month then up to 7 the month after he'd of been fine and then go back from 7 to 5 to 3 then back to 2-1 innings he'd of been fine going back to reliever.

I don't think the Rangers will treat Feliz any differently than the Yankees treated Chamberlain. I think he will get 5+ innings off the bat and if he sucks he will instantly go back to 1-2 innings. C.J Wilson was a lucky case because he actually succeeded as a starter, had he failed and went back to a reliever, he could also in the same situation as Chamberlain.

And also remember Phil Hughes was a starter all the way through the minors and also started out as a starter in the majors. He went from starter to reliever back to starter and suffered tired arm because of it. Because just like Chamberlain, the Yankees decided not to stretch out Hugh's arm first.

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