Feliz Likely To Close; Texas To Pursue Relievers Later

It would be a "huge" upset if the Rangers put Neftali Feliz into their rotation, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter links). However, the Rangers are aware that next year's free agent class is loaded with top relievers, so they'll likely move Feliz to the rotation for the 2012 season. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports points out that trading for a closer at this point in the spring is difficult and argues that Feliz belongs in the bullpen.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said earlier in the week that he wants an experienced closer. Feliz, though still 22, closed for Texas last year when the Rangers made it to the World Series, so he qualifies. Other established closers like Heath Bell and Joakim Soria don't appear to be available.

Bell, Jonathan Broxton, Matt Capps, Francisco Cordero, Brad Lidge, Joe Nathan, Jonathan Papelbon, Francisco Rodriguez, Rafael Soriano, Jose Valverde and other top relievers could hit free agency after the 2011 season, at which point the Rangers would have many more options than they do now.

47 Responses to Feliz Likely To Close; Texas To Pursue Relievers Later Leave a Reply

  1. PostMoBills 4 years ago

    I don’t understand why they don’t just move Feliz in their rotation, if that’s where they want him to be, and then give him the closer role back if he, or the new in-house closer option, fails. Players aren’t born as closers, most of them become one by being a reliever that was offered a chance and succeeded. Heck, Joe Nathan used to be a shortstop. Why not give someone in the bullpen a shot?

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      Trevor Hoffman as well

    • MadmanTX 4 years ago

      That makes little sense since the Rangers would have set their rotation with Feliz and if a platoon of closers fail, then they have to upset Feliz by sticking him back to closer and figure out who their 5th starter will be? They want their team set for the opener so the plan to leave Feliz the closer for now makes sense.

      • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

        no it doesn’t and neither does your assumption that they’d need to put him back in at closer in the middle of the season

        let’s say he closes and the starters blow for three months. can’t stretch him out again and have him start

        you are worrying about the wrong pitchers. starters > relievers

  2. northsfbay 4 years ago

    Feliz is better being a closer. If you have top closer, you are playing an 8 inning game. I don’t think you want to play musical chairs with the closer.

    • Convince Texas management of that. Seems like obtaining a ROY award would have solidified their confidence in Feliz as a closer, and not a starter. Maybe if they were better at landing the “big fish”, they wouldn’t be in this predicament.

      • dwarfcatt 4 years ago

        If you have a dominant pitcher who can handle both roles, what would you rather have:

        70 innings of that pitcher or 200 innings of that pitcher?

        • It’s obvious that I’d rather have 200 IP of a pitcher, but who’s to say that you’re going to get the same results? Feliz hasn’t started since AA-ball and he hasn’t made 1 start in MLB. If the decision was made before spring training by management, then allowed Feliz to get conditioned to his position, that’d be ideal. But, management hasn’t held firm to anything. If they re-signed Lee, Feliz would probably still be closer, no question. But, they didn’t, and now they’re wavering. Feliz has come out and said what he’d prefer (closing) – which is another blunder on TEX’s part. Now you have a possibility for dissension in the club house, possibility making Michael Young appear to be right.

          If Feliz enters the rotation in 2012 it further proves how disorganized Texas’ management is. This might be a playoff-caliber team, but it’s only so in spite of management.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            “It’s obvious that I’d rather have 200 IP of a pitcher, but who’s to say that you’re going to get the same results?”

            who’s to say you’re going to get the same results at closer, the much more volatile role?

          • True, but Feliz has experience closing games. He’s handled it at a major-league level already. He hasn’t started MLB games. If they want him to prove himself and let him start a few, fine. Regardless, to go back on work they’ve been doing all summer by conditioning him for a rotation spot is ridiculous. That’s my point.

            Fact is, they’ve already successfully had a previous closer in C.J. Wilson make the move successfully to the bullpen, but that took time. Time they’re not giving to Feliz. They’ve traded away their only other RP with closing experience (Francisco), so shouldn’t they’ve already had an idea for a closer BEFORE trying to move Feliz to the rotation? Heck, even before they traded away Francisco. Seems like they don’t have a game plan for anything. Glad I’m not a Rangers fan.

      • MadmanTX 4 years ago

        I guess you mean Cliff Lee? Well, they weren’t alone in not landing “the big fish”, but it wasn’t for lack of effort if you recall. You might also note that after Lee, there was a big dropoff in ace pitchers available in the free agent market and they didn’t match up for trades for Garza or Greinke.

        Have you even been keeping up with Feliz in Spring Training? The whole point was that Feliz has the stuff to be an ace starter. Unfortunately, the Rangers maybe got sidetracked because Feliz kept saying he wanted to stay a closer until just recently when he changed his mind. I think they were hoping Scheppers was going to move into the closer role, but his injury screwed that up.

    • JayTeam 4 years ago

      How can you say he’s better at being a closer, when that’s all he’s done in the bigs? That’s strictly your opinion. Your opinion may be correct or maybe not, but don’t say it like it’s fact.

  3. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    The notion that not losing a lead in the ninth is more important then not having the lead in the ninth to begin with is nothing short of ridiculous

  4. The (mis)handling of moving Feliz to the starting rotation – a year after losing their top starting pitcher to free agency (Lee) – illustrates what Michael Young was presumably talking about with the way Texas management goes about things. Three weeks before the season and you’re putting out there that you’re looking for a key reliever, now you’re not and just going to use your reigning AL ROY as a closer and develop him next year?

    I’m glad I’m not behind these guys in line at Redbox waiting for them to pick out a movie…

    • MadmanTX 4 years ago

      Spoken like somebody who believes everything they read in the media. There has been no mishandling of Feliz at all. That is pure BS. They intended to give him a tryout this Spring and he did brilliantly. Feliz kept saying until last week that he didn’t want to be a starter. The Rangers were prepared to try Scheppers at closer, but he got hurt. The Rangers could go with a platoon at closer until someone stands out if Feliz does go into the rotation, but the Rangers know they have more options for the rotation than they do with closer right now.

      However they decide, this is hardly vindication that Michael Young is right about anything except that JD isn’t a people person. Believe what you want about Rangers management…they got to the World Series last season. How did your team do?

      • No one mentioned Daniels (or any other person in the Rangers management), its interesting that you would immediately go there though.

        When it comes to Feliz the Rangers have been waffling more than IHOP.

      • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

        So the idea was to try him out as a starter this spring and if “he did brilliantly” then send him back to the pen? Brilliant!

        Starter or reliever I could careless HOWEVER the Rangers had an entire offseason to think of what to doto help the rotation and what role Feliz would play.

        This is not like they were caught off guard with the need to improve the rotation and replace him in the pen. Yet they traded away the only proven closer they had in Fancisco and they traded him for what really amounts to a redundant attribute as they have plenty of catchers and other RH bats looking for AB’s as well (Young).

      • They got to the World Series…spoken like someone content with mediocrity. I don’t tend to believe everything I read in the media. Thanks for setting me straight about some of the timeline of Texas. I don’t follow them all that much considering I’m not a Rangers fan. However, between trading away a previous closer in Frank Francisco (to TOR) and not re-signing Lee and alienating their clubhouse guy in Michael Young, you’ve got to admit that it’s been a dismal offseason for a team coming off a World Series appearance. Throw in a big signing of someone notoriously only playing for contracts in Adrian Beltre and not re-signing Guerrero, and you could potentially have a big problem this season. That’s what I’m focused on for my team, this season. Live in the here and now, MadmanTX. But, when faced with those large gaping problems, I could understand why you’re focused on last season.

  5. notsureifsrs 4 years ago


  6. Better not go the bullpen I drafted him with the intention he was going to start!!

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      I’ll trade you Bartolo Colon straight up

      • MB923 4 years ago

        That’s all? You should ask for more than Feliz, you could get Hamilton too!

    • JacksTigers 4 years ago

      In fantasy baseball, it’s bett to have a closer than a starter. They rack up a hell of a lot of points with every save and strike out. If I were you, I would be jumping for joy. Instead of once a week, you could get him 3 or 4.

  7. TheHotCorner 4 years ago

    First the Michael Young fiasco and now this. Pick a plan and stick with it already. What next? Hey Ron, I know you are manager but we decided we are moving you to bat boy instead.

    • MadmanTX 4 years ago

      Texas-AL Champs. Atlanta-wildcard. Thanks for Feliz, Andrus, Harrison, etc. btw

      • You’re welcome. You can hang that pennant next to…doh!!! We won the wild-card without Feliz, Andrus, Harrison, Salty, Jones, Ron Mahay or Mark Teixeira and with some of our best players (Chipper, Wagner) going down. Why? Depth. We’re deep enough to withstand that terrible trade that our previous (and not current) GM made. Why do we have so much depth? Because we don’t jeopardize the success of our key players by mismanaging them, much like you’re doing right now with Feliz. Fact is, we developed those boys and they became great players, but we’re continuing to do that. We’ll give you some, but we’ve got a lot more where that comes from (Vizcaino, Teheran, Delgado, Oberholtzer, Lipka, Salcedo, Castillo, etc.)

        Good luck this year without Vlad, Lee and hoping that Beltre isn’t a contract player…

      • AL champ is first loser.

      • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

        That the difference right there. Yanks don’t celebrate AL champiosnhips.

  8. northsfbay 4 years ago

    The starting pitcher keeps you in the game and you get a lead and you shut them down with the bullpen. That is the way the game is played.

    • OR the starting pitcher just shuts the other team down, and as long as you can score, you win. That sounds good too, doesn’t it?

    • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

      The fact that they were trying him out as a starter shows they aren’t so secure with their starters this spring either.

      BTW, what the status of Webb has he pitched at all yet this spring?

  9. They should have just kept Frank Francisco…

    • MadmanTX 4 years ago

      Good guy to have around when you need to toss chairs at fans in Oakland.

  10. JayTeam 4 years ago

    One point I haven’t seen discussed is his innings limit. Morrow last year was similar in being a converted reliever and was shut down in early September. No big deal because the Jays weren’t going to make the playoffs anyway. Now imagine Feliz starting and pitching well, its early September and the Rangers are in a playoff race. What will be the teams decision?

  11. grant77 4 years ago

    Why didn’t they just keep Francisco if they wanted an established closer?

  12. Smrtbusnisman04 4 years ago

    You could talk to the Pirates about Joel Hanrahan or Evan Meek, but you’ll need to give a GOOD starting pitcher to do it.

  13. Ehh he isnt ready to be a starter. Let him stay at closer this year and next year he can start the year at the five spot. Rangers have plenty of options at the 4 and 5 spots this year anyways.

  14. Slopeboy 4 years ago

    Hey JD,Kevin Millwood is looking real good right now, isn’t he?

  15. The Rangers blew it by not going after a closer candidate this past offseason. There were plenty of candidates available. That was a huge blunder on their part.

    Feliz has the potential to be an ace and they need to move him to the rotation to find out if he can do that.

  16. Guest 4 years ago

    I think this is being way over thought by everyone in this thread. This is basically a win-win move for TX. Feliz has looked great this spring, so sticking him in the rotation gives them at least a potential ace to hang their hat on. Definitely not a bad thing considering they have no ace. On the other hand, they know they’ll have an all star closer if they live him in the pen. And it’s not like it’s a move him now or forever hold your peace scenario. They can just move him next year if they’d like. If their management was truly disfunctional, then they’d juggle him around b/w the rotation and bullpen all year (which they’ve said they won’t)

    The real question I have is why Ron Washington is so hell bent on getting an experienced closer for this season when he had so much success w/ a rookie closer last season. Alexei Ogando was lights out in the postseason last year, and had a pretty strong season overall after he was called up. And he has wicked stuff. Why not give him a shot? I can name several teams that I’m sure would love to have options like him and Mark Lowe at the closer’s spot

  17. JacksTigers 4 years ago

    Now your taking it too far.

  18. The Royals and Rays wanted more from the Rangers because they are in the AL

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