Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Transaction Reaction: Joe Nathan

The Texas Rangers sign Joe Nathan to a two-year deal worth $14 million, with a $9 million dollar option for 2014 that has a $500K buyout.

  • I think this is a great move for the Rangers.  I am always against overpaying closers, but $7 million a year for two years seems pretty reasonable given market value.  Plus, after having Tommy John surgery, Nathan is equipped with a fresh elbow tendon.  So while he is old (37), his elbow is not.
  • The real reason I like this move, though, is that I think the Rangers are actually adding value to their roster in two places.  After watching Neftali Feliz implode in the World Series this year, Nathan, who has been one of the most consistent closers in the past decade, could be viewed as an upgrade at the position.  At the same time, though, the Rangers are upgrading their starting rotation by adding Feliz to the mix.  
  • Some have wondered if Neftali Feliz will be able to handle the transition from bullpen to rotation, but what people don't realize about Feliz is that he was actually brought up through the minors as a starting pitcher (and a very good one at that!), and only became a closer in the bigs by necessity.  As a prospect, scouts projected him as a potential staff ace.  In this regard, Feliz's situation reminds me of another minor league starter--turned major league closer--turned major league starter:  Adam Wainwright.  
  • All that being said, I think Nathan will do a good job as a closer, and I bet Feliz will be an excellent starter.  With regard to Feliz, however, I do anticipate a shoulder injury--mine, as I reach for him in next year's fantasy baseball draft.

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