Rangers Sign Joe Nathan

The Rangers' 2012 pitching staff just took shape and so did the rest of their offseason. The defending American League champions agreed with Joe Nathan on a two-year deal that includes a team option for 2014. Dave Pepe of Pro Agents, Inc. negotiated a $14.75MM guarantee for the four-time All-Star. Nathan will earn $7MM in 2012 and 2013 and the club holds a $9MM option for 2014 ($750K buyout).  Nathan can earn up to $1MM in incentives based on games finished, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, and the 2014 option can vest based on games finished in '13.

Joe Nathan

The Rangers announced that Neftali Feliz is finally headed to Texas' rotation. After successfully converting C.J. Wilson and Alexi Ogando into starters, the Rangers will attempt to bolster their rotation with a converted reliever for a third consecutive spring. However, the Rangers aren't out on starters, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. There's less pressure for the Rangers to over-spend on Wilson or another free agent arm now that they have an established arm at the back of their bullpen and five starters in Feliz, Ogando, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison.

Nathan, who turns 37 tomorrow, missed the entire 2010 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Houston native posted a 4.84 ERA with 8.7 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 34.9% ground ball rate in 44 2/3 innings this past season, saving 14 games. His average fastball velocity dropped to 92.3 mph in 2011 after sitting in the 93-95 mph range from 2002-09.

Nathan, an unranked free agent, won't cost the Rangers a draft pick and his former team, the Twins, won't obtain a compensatory pick. The Twins declined a $12.5MM option for Nathan after the regular season, but maintained interest in their longtime closer. 

MLBTR's Tim Dierkes ranked Nathan 48th on his list of top 50 free agents. Bryan Grosnick breaks the move down from a fantasy baseball perspective at CloserNews.com.

T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com first reported the deal and added specifics. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Jon Heyman of SI.com and Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram added detail. Photo courtesy Icon SMI.

215 Responses to Rangers Sign Joe Nathan Leave a Reply

  1. Lastings 4 years ago

    Now what? -Sandy Alderson

  2. diehardmets 4 years ago

    Good signing, particularly if they plan to move Neftali to the rotation.

  3. East Coast Bias 4 years ago

    Nice, that makes me 0/5 or something. 

  4. renegadeisback 4 years ago

    Damn, really wanted the Jays to sign him.

  5. Shawnthemon 4 years ago

    He might get a first place vote next year for the MVP

  6. DarthVader87 4 years ago

    Must be serious about Feliz starting this season.

  7. InLeylandWeTrust 4 years ago

    If they don’t resign CJ are they planning on moving Feliz to the rotation? If not, that is one stacked bullpen.

    EDIT: Nevermind, posted before it says Feliz likely going into the rotation

  8. Joe Nathan, really?

  9. Christopher David 4 years ago

    If they’re going to move Feliz to the rotation, they’ll have a few guys that could close now, and if he doesn’t work out as a starter, they’ll just have one hell of a bullpen.

  10. Fols 4 years ago

    Hmmmm See ya Joe. Good Luck in Texas

  11. Dynasty22 4 years ago

    I’m not so sure how getting Nathan means Feliz to the rotation. Let’s see what C.J Wilson does.

    • And let’s see what Joe Nathan does.

      It’s basically one big question mark being put in the back of their bullpen and creating another in the rotation. It could work out for both, but they should still go after Wilson and/or trade another starter for a front line starter.

      • johnnycomelately9 4 years ago

        If the Rangers don’t put Adams in the Closer role they are dumb.  There is a great chance he’ll be the #1 ranked closer after 2012.  I’ve watched Adams pitch for 3 years

        • Alex 4 years ago

          I’m inclined to agree. Nathan will have to earn the closer’s role over Adams, and I don’t know if he’ll be able to do it.

    • TXHC 4 years ago

      Feliz was going to the rotation regardless of what happens with CJ.

    • TXHC 4 years ago

      Feliz was going to the rotation regardless of what happens with CJ.

  12. Guest 4 years ago

    Feliz to the rotation is definitely a plus. If Nathan can regain his form, this could really help the Rangers. Question now is what’s the cost.

  13. Good buy-low option for closer, and it’s not like Adams couldn’t step in if Nathan falters. And it’s made even better by the fact that it highlights a Feliz move to the rotation.

  14. Joey Doughnuts 4 years ago

    Wow, I didn’t even realize Nathan was a FA. That really says a lot about how far he has fallen over the years.

    • twins33 4 years ago

      He had a 12.5 million dollar option that the Twins declined due to the recent TJ surgery.  Can’t pay that much when you don’t know what you’re going to get.  He was decent this season though and got better as it went on.

      • Joey Doughnuts 4 years ago

        I don’t question why they declined, I’m just saying Nathan went from one of the best closers in baseball to pretty much an afterthought, at least to me.

        • twins33 4 years ago

          Ah, I was just letting you know how he became a FA.

  15. grownice 4 years ago

    AA should sign Broxton asap, id rather him not trade for a closer , Broxton is the best/cheapest option out now.

  16. Chewtoy123 4 years ago

    But I don’t want Feliz in the rotation. What about what I want?!

  17. NYBravosFan10 4 years ago

    damn I’m doing terrible in this competition!!!

  18. sportsnut969 4 years ago

    WOW did not expect this cannot wait to see the $ amount here.

  19. Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

    Good signing for the Rangers. Should be at a fair price and this allows them to bolster their rotation.

  20. InLeylandWeTrust 4 years ago

    Kind of surprising he got a 2 year deal

  21. Karkat 4 years ago

    You know, I wish them luck, but I don’t know if the Rangers can pull off another succesful setup/closer-to-starter transition. Can any team catch lightning in a bottle three years in a row?

    • Lightning in a bottle implies that they go there on luck. Back to back isn’t luck. lol

      • Karkat 4 years ago

        I didn’t mean the postseason, I meant successfully converting a back-end guy into a starter like they did with Wilson and Ogando.

        • jwsox 4 years ago

          I would say catching lightning in a bottle makes sense for CJ because he was older than Alexi and Neftali when they did/ will do it…but experience as a reliever and staying in great shape all you have to do is stretch out and learn to not throw all out every time…a great training staff, pitching coach and medical staff it really shouldnt be that hard for good young relievers to translate over to the rotation its having success in the rotation thats hard

          • Thank God we were able to keep Mike Maddux…the man knows how to handle young pitchers.

        • Yea, Ogando was pure luck. We didn’t know he could be that good as a starter. Wilson wanted to start and the Rangers gave him the chance to. Feliz came up through the system as a starter. It shouldn’t be a horrible adjustment.

    • OrangeCards 4 years ago

      How do you catch lightning in a bottle?


      The Orioles

    • TXHC 4 years ago

      It’s not about catching lightning in a bottle.  It’s about successful scouting and development.

  22. MNTwins12 4 years ago

    As a Twins fan this news is yes, heartbraking. I hope Nathan recoveres from his surgery well and pitches well for the rest of his career. Please Twins, go after Francisco Rodriguez, and sign a starting pitcher and either sign Josh Willingham, or resign Cuddyer or Kubel.

  23. Nathan…. why?  Isn’t the back end of the bullpen what killed the 2011 World Series, twice?  Why downgrade, or settle for Nathan?

    • Ya but they’re upgrading their rotation. It’s worth it.

      • No.Feliz will stink in the rotation. Once he gets past the 3rd inning, his fastball will flatten out and dip down to a hittable range. His arm isnt going to make it either. Once we get to May, he will tire out.

        • The Rangers fan in me hears you 100%, but the team has made huge strides in converting relief pitchers into fantastic starters.

        • jwsox 4 years ago

          ever heard of innings limits? as you know the rangers also have one of the best hitting coaches in the game he will teach hiim how to not go all or nothing like one does in the pen

        • He was a starter his whole career in the minors. If those were going to be issues, he would have been a reliever before he got called up.

        • Feliz has one of the more fluent releases in the majors. It’s not a hard motion on his arm. Most of the time it looks like he’s just tossing the ball…then it comes out at 99-101.

    • Ya but they’re upgrading their rotation. It’s worth it.

    • Madman2TX 4 years ago

      Low cost investment that frees up money for a run at a low ball deal for Oswalt and big package deal for Yu Darvish. Could a rotation of Darvish, Oswalt, Lewis, Holland and Feliz be waiting to happen?

      • I just don’t know what to think about Darvish. It would be devastating to spend $100MM and have the guy flop.

        Oh, and Ogando will be starting again next season.

        • I definitely agree about the investment, personally I don’t think $100MM is worth an unknown.  The reason I call Darvish an unknown is because he hasn’t played in the MLB before, this level of baseball is very different than in the East.

      • Andy Forrester 4 years ago

        I’m curious to see how Darvish will do in the USA, should he be listed.  I’ve always been skeptical of Japanese players coming over here, but I wish the best of luck to him for whoever he plays with next season; if it’s the Rangers, 2012 World Series!  (winning this time, of course)

  24. For $7MM per after the year he had last year?

  25. indybucfan 4 years ago

    Or maybe the Texas Two Time Defending AL Champions.

  26. j6takish 4 years ago

    I wish other teams would follow suit with the Rangers and understand that starting pitchers are infinitely more valuable than relievers and that the narrative of having a “lock down” closer is just silly. CJ, Ogando, and now Feliz.

    • Shu13 4 years ago

      A lock down closer would have been awesome in game 6….

      • Guest 4 years ago

        Right, because having one inning where he couldn’t locate a fastball outweighs the other 162.2 innings of his career.

        • SunsetStripper 4 years ago

          Yeah, it does when the World Series is on the line.

          • Guest 4 years ago

            Your right, it makes sense that a guy should be evaluated by half of a percent (0.55% to be exact) of his career despite him being dominant for the other 181.1 (Including 18.2 exceptional playoff innings) innings of his career

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            even mariano blew a save in the WS, it happens. even the best ones aren’t perfect

          • TXHC 4 years ago

            It happens.

          • TXHC 4 years ago

            It happens.

  27. philliesfan136 4 years ago

    Nice move by the Rangers, but I don’t really like the idea of converting all these solid, young closers who will get better with experience (Feliz, Aroldis) into SP. Then again, they have had success with that, so who knows.

    • Feliz went through the minors as a starter. The only reason he ever became a closer is because Frankie Francisco faltered early in 2010.

      • Seanb1223 4 years ago

        Exactly right. Feliz was meant to be in the rotation from the time the Braves signed him.

  28. dc21892 4 years ago

    I like this signing for Texas.

  29. grownice 4 years ago

    2 years 7 mill per? Hmmm not what i expected at all. This might have raised Broxton price for teams looking for a cheaper option at closer now that Nathan is off the market.

    • dc21892 4 years ago

      Highly doubt it raises Broxtons price. He’s coming off a serious injury and was never as dominant as Nathan was for a long period of time.

      • nathan’s coming off a severe injury too, though granted hes a little further removed. broxton is also like 10 years younger than nathan. very good chance broxton gets a great deal now, especially given the number of teams involved. 

        its incomprehensible how teams have been dishing out money to relievers thus far, but thats not going to stop the trend from continuing, especially since teams dont have to give up picks anymore. fully expecting a multiyear deal for jon rauch now, lol.

        • dc21892 4 years ago

          Nathan and Broxton are two separate cases though. Broxton has proved nothing. He’s looking at incentives until he does.

    • azdsnd 4 years ago

      I hate to break this to you, but Jonathan Broxton is completely cooked.  Average fastball velocity was a career-low in 2011, down over three and a half MPH from his career peak.  This stuff doesn’t come back for relievers without major surgery, and even then it’s iffy.

      If someone really wants to trust Jonathan Broxton as their closer, they’re going to wind up really, really regretting it.

      • grownice 4 years ago

         Didnt realise you were the doctor? I’m aware of his drop in velocity down to 94-95( might as well be a change up ? am i right? ) but seriously id still take the risk , the money wouldnt kill most teams unless your pittsburgh and if he bounces back you could  end up getting a steal.

        • azdsnd 4 years ago

          Not the doctor, but I’ve researched reliever breakdowns over the last 20 years.  Once it goes, it doesn’t come back.  Well, unless your name is Billy Wagner.  If you want to pay Broxton with the hopes that he’s Billy Wagner, go right ahead.

  30. twins33 4 years ago

    I’m happy for him.  He got more than I thought and more than I wanted the Twins to pay.  He was a huge part of this team and the franchise’s all time leader in saves.  I’ll miss him for sure.

  31. goredsgo 4 years ago

    Sorry if this sounds stupid, but why would the Rangers want to move Feliz to the rotation when he has such a good year as their closer?

    • harmony55 4 years ago

      The Rangers experienced success with a similar move of C.J. Wilson (and a move of Alexi Ogando from the bullpen to the starting rotation).

    • Oz10tx 4 years ago

      Because you get 60 or so innings from a relief pitcher and hopefully 150 inning from a starter.

    • Because even the most elite of closers are only as valuable as a middle of the rotation guy. If the Rangers think Feliz can be a 2-3 starter then he’s more valuable to the team as a starter.

    • TXHC 4 years ago

      Because the plan for Feliz has always been for him to be a starter.  It would have happened last season (he was our best starting pitcher coming out of spring training) but they didn’t feel like they had somebody that could replace what he gave at the end of games so back to the closer’s role he went.  Next year we’re not going to have that problem.

    • TXHC 4 years ago

      Because the plan for Feliz has always been for him to be a starter.  It would have happened last season (he was our best starting pitcher coming out of spring training) but they didn’t feel like they had somebody that could replace what he gave at the end of games so back to the closer’s role he went.  Next year we’re not going to have that problem.

  32. MetsMagic 4 years ago

    I hope the Mets grab Frank Francisco. The market is running out of closers with two first names. 

    • StanleyPujols 4 years ago

      maybe you could talk Ryan Franklin out of retirement!

  33. Keep in mind that the 2nd year after Tommy John is traditionally the strong year….last year was Nathan’s first year after surgery and obviously bumpy….now comes the full bounceback….plus this opens up money to go after another starter since CJ will be a goner

  34. StanleyPujols 4 years ago

    I’ve always like Joe Nathan, but I think Mike Adams could be a better closer next season.  Either way, he’s going to rack up a ton of saves for the Rangers even if he isn’t his old self.

  35. well all the silly teams are spending their money early. Prices should be more reasonable.  two years is about 18 months too long for this contract. Joe is closer to 40 then 30.

  36. tiger313 4 years ago

    First Bobby Jenks, now Nathan out of the Central. Those two the Tigers couldnt do anything against for years. WooHoo.

    • Let’s hope you’re right if the Tigers and Rangers meet up in the playoffs again next year :)

  37. BoSoXaddict 4 years ago

    Thought the Sox might have taken a chance on Nathan to replace Pap since he didn’t cost a pick..perhaps they felt it was redudant and/or too risky given last season’s Jenks deal. Though I’d rather have Nathan than Jenks..

    • NYPOTENCE 4 years ago

      There’s also Broxton if you want to add some extra baggage to your team.

      • BoSoXaddict 4 years ago

        Just not sold on Bard as the closer yet, and even if he does get the job we’ll still need a hard-throwing closer-type to set up for him because Jenks is far from a sure thing..

  38. NYPOTENCE 4 years ago

    Don’t see how this is going to help the Rangers unless he can suck out some magic out of that arm. Hope the Rangers are planning to add other pieces to their bullpen because the odds of this move panning out are not good.

  39. Ben-Dessa Anderton 4 years ago

    I rather Adams in the 8th. Koji could be traded as well. THis to me means CJ is going to walk and I am quite alright with that.

    • TXHC 4 years ago

      I don’t want CJ to leave but he’s just not worth what he’s going to get.  It is what it is.

  40. azdsnd 4 years ago

    What a crazy overpay.  Nathan’s velo last year was way down from career norms, and if he doesn’t get that back he’s a middle reliever.  Texas has made some brilliant moves in the last couple of years, but this ain’t one of ’em.

    • I heard he got better during the year as he recovered. I’d like to get some reports from as many Twins fans as possible who saw this guy more than I did. Any Twins fans got any inside info?

      • azdsnd 4 years ago

        FanGraphs velo charts suggest that his velocity did tick upwards a little bit as the season went on and he finished recovering and strengthening his arm, but not to pre-surgery levels.  It’s an enormous risk, and one that I wouldn’t bet $14/15MM on.

      • twins33 4 years ago

        He did.  Fewer walks, fewer runs.  1.00 whip in the 2nd half. .207 BA against.  .263 OBP against.  Location was better.  Velocity increased.  Confidence was higher.  He was much more like the old Nathan in the second half.  I expect big things.

      • rico7961 4 years ago

        I’ve watched almost every Twins game since Nathan became a Twin. What makes Nathan good is his excellent command of his pitch’s. He has 4 pitches he use’s and if he spots the ball where he wants he is almost un-hittable. Command is the last thing to come back after TJ and Nathan’s biggest problem when he was getting hit was his command. His command was coming back slowley last year but not to the point where it was before surgery. Example: When he was on he could make any batter swing at his slider because it looked like a  strike coming in and would dart down and out of the strike zone. Alot of swings and misses. Last year alot of the batters could lay of his slider because he couldn’t command it as well and they could tell it wasn’t a strike. They could sit on the fastball and he couldn’t spot that as well either. That is why he got hit alot harder. If he gets any semblence of his command he had before surgery he will do well even if he’s lost some velocity.

    • twins33 4 years ago

      No it wasn’t.  Nathan always starts the season in the high 80’s, low 90’s.  He was averaging about 92-93 last year for most of the year.  That isn’t down very much considering he’s been at 93-94 since about 2008.

      • azdsnd 4 years ago

        Fangraphs (empirical data) disagrees with you mightily.  Average fastball velocity for three straight seasons from ’05 to ’07 was exactly 94.8 (the same in every year, crazily enough).  That was his peak.  In ’11, it was 92.3, a career-low, and over a mile per hour lower than his ’08 and ’09 average mph readings.  That’s significant.

        • twins33 4 years ago

          Do you have a reading problem?  You just agreed with me because that’s exactly what I said.  He was averaging 93-94 since 2008 and last year was at 92-93.  I didn’t say he was at 94+ after 2008, because he wasn’t.   

          You just agreed with me, but said I was wrong…and no, one to two MPH’s off after TJ surgery is not significant. It’s normal.

          • azdsnd 4 years ago

            You were wrong about him typically starting off the year in the upper-80’s.  Very much wrong, based on averages and velocity charts – i.e. if he started the year in the upper-80’s and finished 93-94, he’d be somewhere lower than 93 on average.  So, no, I don’t have a reading problem, but thanks for your concern.

            And no, that’s not normal.  Not two years removed from the surgery.  He should be back to full strength in terms of stuff, it’s only his command that should be shaky.  His command was fine, but his stuff is still missing velocity.

          • twins33 4 years ago

            Read every article about Nathan early in the season.  Even he says he starts off in the upper 80’s and lower 90’s, so no…I’m not wrong.  This has been discussed about him for years.

            He had surgery in March of 2010.  How in the world is that 2+ years?  In March 2012 it will be two years.  I can’t remember the exact month, but he started pitching again last year before he was even a year removed from the surgery (it was somewhere around 11 months).  Last year (2011 season) was his first year after TJ surgery.  Again, you’re wrong.  Velocity being down in the year after TJ surgery is completely normal.

          • azdsnd 4 years ago

            If you mean freakin’ Spring Training, then fine.  Everyone starts low in ST and builds up for the season.  But it’s utterly ludicrous if you’re suggesting he does that in the regular season.  He’d get torched, and nobody should enter the season without being ready to go full-strength.  Go to Fangraphs and look at his Pitch f/x data.  There are velocity charts there that map out his velo as the season progresses, including the beginning of the season, and nowhere does his fastball start in the 80’s.  The chart goes back to the ’07 season, so it’s covering the “for years” period of time you’re referring to.

            “Two years” is a way of saying “two seasons.”  Which, at the end of the 2011 season, was accurate enough.  You’re just nitpicking the data I’m presenting.  Jarrod Parker had TJ after the ’09 season as well (not immediately after, he delayed it trying to rehab w/o surgery), and his velocity was back to pre-surgery levels as early as April of ’11 (first year back on the mound after surgery).  Heck, it was back in Fall Instructs the year before!  If Nathan was going to get his velocity back, it probably would have been back by the end of the 2011 season.  There are outliers for everything, but this is what is likely, not what is possible (because, after all, that’s what’s informative).

          • twins33 4 years ago

            Spring training and April.  Happens every year, maybe not for all of April, but for some of it for sure.  Lots of articles out there about it at the beginning of the 2011 season (upper 80’s, lower 90s)…which you seem to be forgetting the lower 90’s part of that.

            And I don’t understand how you count a year when he does nothing but let the ligament heal and strengthen as a year of pitching, which is what you’re doing.  They don’t even start a throwing program until about four months after the surgery.  Meaning Nathan didn’t even pick up a baseball until July of 2010.  And in that time it’s just soft tossing. 

            TJ surgery patients are better with two years of pitching.  Nathan did not pitch in 2010.  He started pitching (full-on pitching) 11 months removed from TJ surgery in 2011.  And the majority of TJ patients struggle with velocity and command in that first year.  Not all (Jarrod Parker, your example, Billy Wagner…), but the majority.  Those two guys are the exception, not the rule.

            It’s not nitpicking, it’s the facts.  If you want to count 2010 as pitching (as a “season”), when he did not then that’s up to you.  It has only been one year of pitching for Nathan in the real world.  One to two MPH’s off of his norm in his first year back is normal.  Happens to a lot of them.

          • azdsnd 4 years ago

            Spring Training, not April in most years.  The data just doesn’t show that in April on a year-to-year basis. It’s just 2011, which is because his velocity was down from not having his elbow in prime form.  He was clearly still hurting, as his DL stint helped his stuff.  Fine, I’ll give you that.  But even after that stint it wasn’t back to pre-surgery levels, as the chart shows.

            How does that year not count?  You had the surgery, it’s in the past, and you’re rehabbing.  My example, Parker, had his velocity back about a year later, perhaps even a bit less than a year later (depends on the exact timing of the surgery), in Fall Instructionals, not after one year of professional innings (his velocity was back FAR before the end of the 2011 season).  It’s been over a year and a half, and Nathan doesn’t have his back.  At this point, we can start seriously considering that it isn’t coming back.

            Velocity comes back far sooner than command, the last thing to come back.  That’s what my belief on the surgery rehab process is.  But unless one of us goes and does a study of fastball velocity for TJ recoverees one year removed from the surgery in the last decade, neither of us will prove anything.  But if you’re giving $14.5MM guaranteed to someone over two years, I’d want more than a dream and a hope that he’ll have the velocity he needs to be dominant back.

          • twins33 4 years ago

            This biggest place where we differ is you counting his rehab time as a season.  Reading up on TJ surgery, since the Twins have had many players who have had it, every article I have ever seen on it said that the player is usually better in the second year of PITCHING.  Actually throwing the ball in real games.  The majority of the players do not have their speed back in the first year, which this past season was the first year for Nathan.  I’ve never seen one that has said different.

            There are, of course, those rare exception guys like Parker and Wagner, but they are the exception.  If Nathan doesn’t get his velocity back by mid-season 2012 (to 93-94) then I could agree with you.  As of right now, I can’t because every article I have ever read says it takes two years of actual pitching for both velocity and command.  Velocity, of course, comes first like you said.

          • azdsnd 4 years ago

            We’re not gonna agree, dude.  I think a year and a half, at most two, years removed from the surgery, you think two years of pitching.  Whatever.

            Even if it is two years of pitching, like you say, why would the Rangers give the guy so much money now when he’s still not at full strength and not going to be at full strength until 2013?

          • Ken Leder 4 years ago

            Regardless, if his fastball average to the same amount as he did last season then he is going to have a lot of trouble missing bats. If he gets back close to his 2008 form then he should be good, but that seems like a pretty big commitment to pay for a guy who may or may not bounce back. Contact rate against him i 2009 is 67.8% and 2011 is 81.2%. A drop in mph can be pretty dramatic even if it seems small. I think he still has a shot to bounce back, but no way I’d do that for $14.5m guaranteed over 2 years. According to pitch fx his velocity started out slowly then went up then went back down again towards the end of the season. Seems like a very normal pattern for many of the relievers out there in the majors.

          • twins33 4 years ago

            He struggled a lot in the first half too.  That didn’t help.  That was his first taste of batters since the surgery.  You could tell he wasn’t right yet.  He was not located balls the way he used to, but his velocity did go up and his command did get better as the season went on.

            And I’m not saying he’s guaranteed to pitch like the Nathan of old next year, but I’ve got a good feeling about it.  The second half he was showing great signs of becoming good again.  Not all of the numbers show that, but some of them do.  And watching him pitch every day helps.  Lots of local reporters, fans, the team…they all saw that he was improving as the season went on.  The Twins were starting to trust him again and he was earning it.

            If that second half Nathan shows up for the Rangers next year then he will be worth the price, at least for the 2012 season.  As a Twins fan, I wouldn’t have wanted the Twins to pay that much.  I was thinking 10 guaranteed and then throw some incentives in there.  I’m surprised he got that much, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he shows that he completely deserves it.

          • Ken Leder 4 years ago

            thank you for the insight.

  41. If Feliz to the rotation is the reason for this is this not a downgrade for both bullpen and rotation? Feliz>Nathan as closer, CJ>Feliz as starter? And 2 years of 14.5 million? Don’t know much about the Rangers but not seeing how this is a good move from the outside looking in. 

    • Feliz has the potential to be a #1 starter. The Rangers want to give him the year to get use to starting.

  42. Salmon4Coach 4 years ago

    Oh man Ogando,Holland,Lewis is tough..Wonder how Feliz will do

  43. HerbertAnchovy 4 years ago

    14.5MM?! Wow.

  44. slider32 4 years ago

    With the new CBA in effect it looks like free agents are going to get larger contracts. Since teams won’t have to give up draft picks, teams will be more likely to pull the trigger.

  45. Guest 4 years ago

    Good for Joe. Would’ve like to see the Twins keep him, but the last thing a 99 loss team needs to worry about is a closer. He’s got a serious shot at a ring now and he deserves one. Good luck, Mr. Nathan.

  46. cusoman 4 years ago

    Ranger fans: don’t expect this guy to be the answer to any postseason shortcomings.  As a Twins fan, it’s easy to see his value as a regular season closer over the years, but in the postseason he is a choke artist.

  47. They’re definitely out on CJ…both he and Joe Nathan wear #36…if that isn’t a sign I don’t know what is. (sarcasm)

  48. InLeylandWeTrust 4 years ago

    Papelbon sure did F up the closers market

    • The closer’s market has been effed up for years. This is nothing new. Nathan coming off of a down year is making the absolute most I’d be comfortable paying a reliever. Ridiculous.

    • Zuidvogels 4 years ago

      Paps signed what some team was willing to offer. If anyone is to blame for the resetting of the market, it’s the Phillies.

  49. lefty177 4 years ago

    as a side note though, this is a great early birthday present for him!

  50. Whole_New_World 4 years ago

    We’ll see Texas.

    You can see what they’re thinking. But you can’t be sure about Feliz starting. And it’s a pretty good-sized roll of the dice that Nathan makes it back anywhere near what he was before TJ.

  51. CJ WIlson, a California native, will sign with the Angels. 5yr 82.5 mill

  52. iheartyourfart 4 years ago

    i really hope mike adams still gets a chance to close for them.  been watching him since he came into his own with the padres.  the guy is absolutely lights out.  he’s in the discussion for best reliever in baseball over the last few years.  since 2008, nobody has a better ERA or batting average against.  hopefully he finally catches a break.

    • He also played in the NL at a park where home runs go to die. His progression to the AL, albeit small sample size, left much to be desired. He is best as a setup man and that is why the Rangers signed Nathan. 

      • iheartyourfart 4 years ago

        his k/bb ratio stayed the same, and his ERA and BAA were still at an elite level. definitely think he’s got more to give than nathan at this point.  he doesn’t get too many fly balls, so i don’t see a lot of arlington regression in his future.

    • Also, I heart your name. Funny haha

  53. This is pretty off topic, but what are the Rangers plans with Jurickson Profar? He’s blocked at his position, but from everything i’ve seen and read, he looks like the real deal. If the Rangers are committed to Andrus, I’m sure he could command quite a bit in the trade market.

    • He’ll be packaged for an ace if one is made available. Otherwise, he’ll sit there until we see what happens with Andrus. By the time Profar is ready to come up Beltre might move to DH and Elvis to 3B.

      • That’s sort of what I had figured. I’m not a Rangers fan, but I can’t help but notice how good this kid is.

    • TXHC 4 years ago

      We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

  54. baybombers 4 years ago

    so mike adams as the setup man, and joe as the closer?

  55. twins33 4 years ago

    This site’s posting problems are annoying!

  56. Feliz throws cheese with ease. That fluid delivery needs to be pitching 6+ every 5 days. Closers come and go every year. 

  57. He’ll get the job done through September (for the most part). However I wouldn’t let him near a post season roster.

    Sorry that’s what I will always remember him for. Serving up gopher balls in the NY night. Good riddance Mr. Nathan.

  58. AngeloCe 4 years ago

    Ive been a Rangers fan ever since ive started watching baseball (im pretty young so thats not long maybe a little over a decade). Simple put this is what Texas does not as a successful organization not as a rebuilding organization but as an organization itself. They put their faiths in their coaches and the ability to develop young talent. E.G. Ian Kinsler, Mark Teixieria, Michael Young, C.J. Wilson, Hank Blalock, the list goes on and on. None of these names I listed were big names when they were drafted or traded to texas. But they became big under the lights of Arlington Stadium. Weather you think this is a smart move a dumb move or a move that a desperate organization would do. This is a move the Texas Rangers do. Is Joe Nathan a gamble? Sure. But I tell you what. If you see a pitcher who you could see starting a regular season for you, ending a losing streak, and starting a post season series, do you not make this move? If you believe in Feliz do you not make this move? That what it comes down to Ron Washington and Mike Maddux believe they can turn this guy into a starter. And after wathcing the sometimes horrific and magical rangers over the last decade, im inclined to believe that they made the smart move here, but only time will tell.

  59. cookmeister 4 years ago

    Anybody else think that $7 mil per year is too high?  I don’t mind the 2 years really, but for a guy not too far removed from TJ surgery and having a so-so year seems a little sketchy.

    • Jacob Phillips 4 years ago

      This deal IMO is worse for the other teams in need of a closer than it is for the Rangers. $7 mil for a guy who didn’t pitch in ’10 and had an “eh” yeah in ’11? Every other closer on the market is going to want to START negotiations at 7.

      • cookmeister 4 years ago

        $7 mil for a guy that might not (and IMO won’t be) the closer? too rich for my blood.

    • Jacob Phillips 4 years ago

      This deal IMO is worse for the other teams in need of a closer than it is for the Rangers. $7 mil for a guy who didn’t pitch in ’10 and had an “eh” yeah in ’11? Every other closer on the market is going to want to START negotiations at 7.

  60. Zuidvogels 4 years ago

    I would have expected 5MM as a base with incentives leading to 7MM. So it’s probably a bit of an over pay. But if Nathan is healthy it could end up looking like a great deal compared to what some of the other closers are getting/will get. Even if he fails the contract won’t be an albatross that keeps Texas from spending. IMO this move has less risk/possible negative effects on the payroll then if the gave CJ 4+ years at 15M+ per.

  61. interesting signing

  62. interesting signing

  63. twins33 4 years ago

    comment removed.

  64. twins33 4 years ago

    comment removed. guess i’m done trying to reply again..

  65. Either way, good buy low.

  66. Actually, Evan Grant says it’s a two-year deal for him to close.

  67. InLeylandWeTrust 4 years ago

    You’ve done better

  68. Likely, leaving the Rangers almost out of the race for CJ Wilson (aka. John Lackey 2.0). And now the Angels are already screwed, hope they don’t sign CJ…

  69. slider32 4 years ago

    This move could mean that the Rangers go after Fielder, instead of a starter.

  70. TXHC 4 years ago

    It was a done deal 7 months ago.

  71. TXHC 4 years ago

    It was a done deal 7 months ago.

  72. grownice 4 years ago

    Nice save.

  73. I don’t like your Ranger joke, but I can’t help but laugh at the 2nd attempt.

  74. tycobb 4 years ago

    In that case, will you go up on me…

  75. Madman2TX 4 years ago

    Figure the Yankees to sign Wilson, their memories wiped of past ex-Ranger pitchers Kenny Rogers and Kevin Brown withering in the Bronx.

  76. n0s 4 years ago

    John Lackey was AJ Burnett 2.0, meaning CJ Wilson is AJ Burnett 3.0.

    Lackey isn’t important enough to get his own .0’s

  77. jwsox 4 years ago

    maybe adams does not like to close, some guys are simply more comfortable as 8th inning set up guys, matt thornton for example was better as a set up man even though at times the 8th inning guy faces the hardest hitters. With bullpens its all about comfort

  78. Shu13 4 years ago

    he’s the vet w/ closer experience….BUT when he falters Adams will step in….

  79. Adams wanted to close next year when he was in SD.

  80. NYYANKEES 4 years ago

    I read that they unwilling to go beyond 4 years and are more interested in Danks and Buerhle

  81. grownice 4 years ago

     I’m going to go out on a limb and say you don’t like the Dodgers.

  82. I really hope so, now lol.

  83. jwsox 4 years ago

    he was not horrible last year, his numbers are skewed because when he came back the twins kind of rushed him a bit and didnt let him work back to closing. I saw a bunch of twins games and there were times where he was old Joe nathan and times where you could tell he was coming off major surgery. My guess is its 2 years of low base salary, obviously, with a ton of incentives…or it could very well be a 1 year deal with 2 option years…but with his past its pretty easy to get 2 years….my guess 2 years 2-3 mill a season base with an extra 2-3 in incentives pushing it to 2 yrs/10 with a 6-7 mill option

    just saw the contract detials…4 mill off isnt that bad but still 14 locked down is a bit much

  84. Way more upside despite never having started a major league game? And yes they do need a front line starter. Texas has always had big offense and often a good bullpen. They’ve had even far better lineups than 2011 and still struggled to maintain winning seasons, because their success always hinges on their starting rotation due to having to deal with a launch pad for home ballpark. They are the Colorado Rockies of the AL. The Rangers need to improve their rotation with proven pitchers if they want to continue at the rate they are going.

  85. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    feliz has way (WAY) more upside than 6 WAR? gotta disagree

  86. jwsox 4 years ago

    didnt know that thanks for clarifying but still…thornton said the same thing going into 11 and he was clearly unlucky and uncomfortable

  87. I posted that before the terms came out. I assumed a team wouldn’t pay a reliever not fully back from TJS $7MM. Oops.

  88. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    it’s still technically buying low, since his stock is way down from where it once was. but it’s not a bargain. at all

  89. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    daniels took over after 2004. the rangers, in the AL West, didn’t make the playoffs until 2010

    anthopolous took over after 2009. it is now 2011. the jays broke .500 in the AL East and have a top 5 farm system

    hope this helps

  90. slider32 4 years ago

    AA is mediocre GM, look at all the pitcher he gave up that ended up in the playoffs. Now the Jays are scrammbling for pitchers.

  91. expos94 4 years ago

    how so?
    the jays were never planning to use napoli because they already had first base, dh and catcher filled but what they needed was bullpen help. if the jays kept napoli he probably wouldn’t have gotten enough at bats to have the year he had. in the end both teams got what they wanted, texas a catcher and toronto got bullpen help. napoli played better than expected and francisco played worse.
    texas might have won the trade but that doesn’t mean AA got out-witted.

    by the way, not saying that he did or didn’t, but if you want to say someone outwitted the AA it has to be John Mozeliak because he not only made it to the world series but won…

  92. AA must have spit in your coffee one day or something. and no he was not outwitted, he simply dealt from an area of surplus cause they wanted to get jp arencibia a season of AB’s. in hindsight sure he sold way too low, but napoli displayed a hitherto unknown amount of talent this year. you can try to tell me that jon daniels saw it coming, but thats bull all the way in my books. there was some reason to suggest that napoli was suppressed in anaheim, and of course every hitter who plays in texas looks better than they really are, but there was no way of predicting he would hit like an mvp. besides the deal was still a massive win cause of the wells salary dump (and if we’re in the business of using hindsight wells played extremely bad for the angels, so the deal looks that much better).

    and by the way jon daniels was hired in 2005, so it took him roughly 4 years to turn an average rangers team into contenders, and thats in a fairly weak division. so given AA was given a worse team, worse farm system, and an exponentially more difficult division why dont you wait at least another 2 years before you start calling AA out for not improving the team’s record? chances are by then you’ll have nothing to criticize. 

    edit: notsureifsrs already had the daniels info/argument up, my bad.

  93. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    friedman took over after 2005. anthopolous took over after 2009

    both men understand that comparing the career hit totals of a 6-year veteran and a sophomore season star in order to determine who is better is completely goofy

    do you see the relevance

  94. Definitely not Danks lol

  95. Nolan and JD don’t want to pay nine figures for anyone. Fielder isn’t worth it.

  96. Your response a logical fallacy. Those were gambles the Rangers took because they felt they had to at the time and for the most part it worked. Wilson has worked out good. Ogando is no Pedro; he had plenty of lapses in control both emotionally and in his pitches. All of this does not guarantee Feliz will do the same. The Rangers are no longer a mid-level contender who has to make these gambles to conserve resources. They need to re-sign Wilson or trade for a front line starter. Otherwise they risk going back to where they were. They’ll be lucky if Feliz works out and Ogando matures into a more consistent starter. But the Rangers should not be relying on that. There’s a reason they did all they could to sign Lee. And there’s a reason the Rangers have a long history of having a lot of trouble luring top free agent starting pitchers.

  97. grownice 4 years ago

     You say this every.single.time. LOL

  98. You mean the same pitcher that had the worst post season of any starting pitcher in MLB history?

  99. grownice 4 years ago

     I think he’s angry now.

  100. I’m not going to disagree that they don’t want to pay nine figures for anyone, but how is Fielder not worth it? The man’s a clear top-5 first baseman in the MLB and likely a top-15 PLAYER in the league.

  101. To be a top 5 first baseman you have to play defense as well. Where soes he rank defensively?
    In my opinion you aren’t worth that kind of money unless you can play defense in addition to your bat.

  102. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    it wont

  103. Didn’t Toronto win 87 games in 2006 with JP? 

  104. Those samples are far too small to draw any kind of meaningful conclusions.

  105. twins33 4 years ago

    I’ll admit he wasn’t great, especially in the first half, but you can’t forget the terrible defense behind him.  That did not help anyone’s ERA.

    He was a lot better in the second half overall than the first.

  106. him and slider32 are beyond hope. definitely from troll country.

  107. I love Adams, he was always such a fierce competitor.  I have had the opportunity to see him pitch on many occasions with the San Diego Padres, I wish him much luck in Texas!

  108. imachainsaw 4 years ago

    you realize all through the minors Feliz started, right? clearly you don’t by making such a strong case that transitioning to starter will create a huge question mark by his name.

  109. TXHC 4 years ago

    Fielder is a really good defensive 1B believe it or not.

  110. TXHC 4 years ago

    Fielder is a really good defensive 1B believe it or not.

  111. you are correct. jp’s entire tenure was not completely horrible, but it definitely ended badly: clubhouse revolt, lame duck manager, bottom 10 farm system, 75 wins, etc. besides, 87 wins is nothing to write home about. now i know you’re going to say that 87 wins is better than what the jays have done the last 2 years, but consider the situation. the jays have been a rebuilding team since AA has taken over, whereas in jp’s tenure they declared themselves a playoff team multiple times and came up short, so the 87 wins was a disappointment at the time (despite the fact that they won more regular season games than that season’s world champs). 

  112. Bobcat297 4 years ago

    There is a huge question mark by his name.  He does not have any secondary pitches and has already said he doesn’t want to be a starter.  I say you trade Feliz in a package deal to get a true ACE for this staff.  The Rangers already have top tiered talent in the minor leagues that COULD BE a top level starter, which is exactly what Feliz is right now.  Nobody knows what he will be, so his stock is very high right now.  Trade Feliz for a PROVEN ACE, that is what this club needs right now not someone who MAY or MAY NOT be a good starter in the future.  Would you package Feliz in a deal to get a Lincecum?  You bet your A$$.

  113. imachainsaw 4 years ago

    yeah except that lincecum is gonna be $20M+ pitcher from now til the end of his career. Why not develop your own Lincecum for a fraction of the price is you have an opportunity to? Is developing pitchers only necessary for low market clubs? No, every team needs to do it.

    also, apparently the slider and the changeup aren’t secondary pitches. i’ll find whoever lied to me.

  114. By what standard are you determining that Fielder is “pretty good” at 1B?  UZR has him as a career -6.4 UZR/150.  Tango’s Fan Scouting Reports has him at -14 in ’09+’10 and well below average in every category.  And although I can’t come up with any numbers, I’m about 99.5% sure that he’s never been close to positive on plus/minus.

    Now… This isn’t to say that he’s completely negative in EVERY defensive measurement out there — just that I’ve never personally seen one (including others beyond those listed).

  115. lol Omars ghost would be sayin K-rod 3 year deal repeat the past

  116. I was going to say that 87 wins in the AL East is pretty darn good. Of course, this came after they binge spent on Burnett, Ryan, etc.

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