Monday a.m. Rangers stuff

The story in camp at this point is the Neftali Feliz situation, and Jeff Wilson writes that the Rangers still haven't decided what Feliz's role will be come Opening Day.

T.R. Sullivan says that all the team's decisions hinge on what they do with Feliz.

One of the things that has struck me -- and I may just be reading this wrong -- is that there seems to be an attitude among a lot of fans that the Feliz decision should not be impacted by the state of the bullpen, or the state of the rotation.

And I'd agree with that, if this were years past, when the Rangers were building for the future, and their chances of being a playoff team were remote.

But it seems as if years of irrelevance have made us forget what it is like to root for a team that expects to be a playoff team, and made us prioritize development and the future ahead of immediate success.

If the Rangers feel like they've got multiple good options for the last couple of spots in the rotation, then that may put Texas in a situation where they are better off for 2011 with Feliz in the bullpen.  And Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, and Michael Kirkman have all pitched like worthy contenders this spring, whereas in years past, it seemed like the #4 and #5 spots would end up going to someone by default, because they were the only pitcher who wasn't injured and hadn't crapped the bed in March.

And if the bullpen is looking shaky, while the rotation looks like it has several pitchers who can be solid in the rotation, then that's something the team has to take into account when deciding whether Feliz should spend 2011 in the bullpen or in the rotation.  Winning now is something that should take priority over development.

And of course, another factor in this is that the Rangers think Brandon Webb will be ready soon.  Gil Lebreton says Webb is a gamble the Rangers have taken that could pay off huge. 

And if Webb is ready quickly, then bringing Feliz into the rotation likely means Derek Holland or Matt Harrison -- whichever one gets the #5 spot -- losing his spot and heading back to AAA just as quickly.

Joey Matches projects the Rangers Opening Day roster, and his projection matches what mine would be at this point.

Tim MacMahon says that Mike Napoli, rather than Mitch Moreland, will likely start for the Rangers on Opening Day, with lefty Jon Lester on the mound.

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