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The Rangers are going to make a decision on Neftali Feliz’s role before spring training

Oct 31, 2011, 4:00 PM EDT

Neftali Feliz, Ron Washington AP

Last year there was a lot of hemming and hawing over whether Neftali Feliz — who started all the way through the minor leagues before a year of closing — would return to the rotation.  He started some in the spring, some words were offered to the effect that he’d start, but ultimately Ron Washington wanted him in the pen.

While it was obviously a successful season for the Rangers, they’re still thinking about Feliz in the rotation, and said this afternoon that the decision will be made before spring training begins this time, not after.

Both are good calls. Feliz as a starter makes all kinds of sense given the likely departure of C.J. Wilson and given that, even with Wilson, one or two more solid starts from someone during the postseason could have made the difference between the pen tiring out in the World Series or not.  As for the timing of the decision: yes, let the young man know his role, let the manager use him in that role, and leave all of the uncertainty out of it.

I’m hoping we see Feliz start next year because it’s always better for good pitchers to start as opposed to relieve.  But even if he stays put, not jerking him around like they did last year is a good thing too.

  1. spytdi - Oct 31, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    It’s a done deal. He gives up way too many walks to be a closer. Good luck in the search for a decent closer Texas…Mike Adams isn’t gonna do it for you either.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Oct 31, 2011 at 5:20 PM

      Actually, this is a great offseason to pick up a closer. There are plenty available in free agency.

      I agree with this move.

  2. aaronmoreno - Oct 31, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    He won’t start. No third pitch.

    • paperlions - Oct 31, 2011 at 5:36 PM

      Then what do they call his change up and cut fastball? His 4th and 5th pitches, because he throwsa FB, curve, change, and a cutter?

      • aaronmoreno - Oct 31, 2011 at 8:40 PM

        What change and cutter? How often does he throw those?

      • clydeserra - Oct 31, 2011 at 9:22 PM

        according to fangraphs he threw a slider and a change between 4 and 5% of the time each.

      • paperlions - Oct 31, 2011 at 9:52 PM

        In addition, when guys are working as relievers they generally don’t throw all of their pitches…in part, because they don’t need to when they never face the same guy more than once/game, and in part because they often aren’t on the mound long enough to get a good feel for all of their pitches….and in high leverage situations, you don’t screw around and get beaten by your 3rd or 4th best pitch.

  3. Jeremiah Graves - Oct 31, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    Move him to the rotation and sign one of the 10,000 closers on the market this winter.

  4. Kyle - Oct 31, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    I have this funny feeling like a starting pitcher is more valuable than a reliever. Definitely worth a try.

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