Why the hell would the Texas Rangers need a closer when they already have Neftali Feliz, you ask? Well, because apparently Feliz can do what he does for like six or seven innings in a row.
While the Rangers closer will finally be making his dream move to the starting rotation, Joe Nathan will be taking over closing duties in Arlington after leaving the Minnesota Twins via free agency for a two-year contract worth $15 million, including a club option for 2014. The day before his 37th birthday.
It's almost like the Rangers got two new pitchers. What a deal! Especially since they've lost C.J. Wilson, likely to the Los Angeles Angels.
Nathan missed the entire 2010 season following Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow and struggled a bit to regain his form with the Twins this season. The four-time All-Star went 2-1 with a 4.84 ERA and 14 saves over 48 appearances, losing his job as closer early in the season to that big oaf Matt Capps, who sucked so bad the club gave the job back to Nathan later on in the summer. He went on to save 11 games and hold opposing hitters to a .207 batting average.
Meanwhile, Feliz went 2-3 with a 2.74 ERA over 62.1 innings, converting 32 of 38 save opportunities.
Although the thought totally crossed our minds, as we know it did yours as well, general manager Jon Daniels said the move to the rotation for Feliz had absolutely nothing to do with his blown save in that ridiculous Game 6 of the 2011 World Series which they eventually lost to the St. Louis Cardinals...
For a more intimate look at Joe Nathan, feel free to check out our interview with him from last May. He's sort of a one-sentence-answer type of no-nonsense guy. We like that in a closer. Happy Birthday Joe!
[ESPN Dallas/Fort Worth]