News! Actual Rangers news! Bless you, Jon Daniels.
In what would have been a morning for rehashing the American League MVP ballots, the Rangers went out and shed some light on their offseason plans by signing Joe Nathan to be their new closer.
T.R. Sullivan's story on the Nathan signing is about how Daniels feels the acquisition is really two moves in one. Nathan comes in to be a veteran closer and that frees up Neftali Feliz -- the team's best arm -- to officially join the rotation.
The Feliz as starter/reliever debate has existed since before Feliz even made his debut in the majors. Over the last two seasons the Rangers have struggled with determining how to get the most value out of Feliz's abilities. Two camps would form over the years. There was the don't mess with success camp, which seemed to have Nolan Ryan and Ron Washington as members, that wanted Feliz to remain a dynamic closer in the bullpen. And then there was the quality starters are awesome and valuable camp that held a desire to see if Feliz could fulfill his promise as a starter and therefore provide way more value to the team in the rotation.
It seems all along the Rangers have wanted to eventually get Feliz into the rotation but have lacked an exit strategy to feel comfortable in removing a very good closer from the bullpen.
And so, until last night, Feliz as a starter was something that appeared iffy at best despite the organization's stated desire to make the move. Now, with Nathan signed to be the closer, the Rangers have officially committed to transitioning Feliz's talents back to that of a starting pitcher.
Richard Durrett writes about Feliz moving to the rotation and thinks it's time to see what Feliz can do as a starter.
Drew Davison has quotes from Feliz about how he is happy to know what his role will be next season and he is ready to put in the work to be a starter.
Joey Matches fans the hot stove flames by taking us through his thoughts on the Nathan signing. Joey is "excited, wary, and curious all at the same time." And I think that sums things up rather nicely.
Frankly, no one likes the idea of spending decent amounts of money on relievers. It seems even scarier when the reliever in question isn't young and has had recent serious arm issues. But, going by what the front office is selling on this, the move seems to be more about freeing Feliz from the bullpen, while attempting to hit on what was fairly recently a top 2-3 closer in the game, rather than about just throwing money at the saves stat.
Ken Rosenthal writes about Joe Nathan wanting to be a Ranger. After sitting down with Rangers' brass, Nathan seemingly asked his agent to just get it done rather than wait around for the very best deal to come along.
This might be a first with a free agent and the Rangers. Obviously free agents have signed with the Rangers before but I don't know if I can recall one saying, "Man, I sure want to be a Texas Ranger. Let's get that done right now."
Durrett's Dazzling Dozen moment No. 4 is of the greatest game I have seen in person and one of the best nights of my life. AND IT'S ONLY NUMBER FOUR!!
Davison has a piece on Darren Oliver and how he would like to return to Texas next season. I still like you, DO.
On the A.L. MVP front: Here's Jeff Wilson's ballot and his thoughts on the vote.
Finally, Jeff Passan writes a really bizarre article about Michael Young, Jimmy McMillan, and Young's MVP support. I really don't know what to make of it. But it does have this quote from McMillan: "He's not supposed to be there, but he's there. McMillan look like Santa Claus. He wore sneakers to the debate. I like Michael Young. I really do. I say this to you, Mike: You keep your head up."