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UPDATE: Rangers ink Joe Nathan to two-year contract, moving Neftali Feliz to rotation

Nov 21, 2011, 8:24 PM EDT

Joe Nathan

UPDATE II: Via Jeff Wilson, Nathan will earn $7 million in 2012 and 2013 while the contract includes a $9 million club option for 2014 or a $500,000 buyout.

UPDATE: Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Nathan is guaranteed $14.5 million over the length of the contract, including the buyout for the option year.

Meanwhile, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that Feliz has been informed he will indeed make the move to the starting rotation.

8:07 PM: In a move that likely indicates Neftali Feliz is headed to the starting rotation next season, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that the Rangers have signed Joe Nathan. Full details aren’t yet known, but Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that he will receive a two-year contract with an option for a third year.

Nathan, who turns 37 tomorrow, made his way back from Tommy John surgery this season and posted a 4.84 ERA, 14 saves and 43/14 K/BB ratio over 44 2/3 innings. The veteran right-hander pitched much better when he regained the closer’s role from Matt Capps following the All-Star break, posting a 3.91 ERA and 22/5 K/BB ratio over 23 innings.

While the Rangers waffled on the situation earlier this year, they have said that they want to make a decision Feliz’s status going into spring training, so this would presumably set the stage for him to make a permanent move to the starting rotation.

  1. cusoman - Nov 21, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    Man alive, I hope this doesn’t mean the Twins will stick with Capps as their closer. Time to see what Perkins has, just anything, ANYTHING but Capps.

    • sknut - Nov 21, 2011 at 8:56 PM

      I agree. I don’t mind that not re-signing Nathan but Capps can’t come back. I hope they might take a look at Huston Street from Col.

      Good signing by Texas and ends the Feliz bullpen assignment and makes the rotation stronger.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:55 AM

      nobody can generate negativity like a closer.

  2. gt929 - Nov 21, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    Even with moving Feliz to the rotation, which I support, I didn’t think the Rangers needed to sign another closer. I figured Mike Adams could and would take the spot. Oh well, if Nathan falters, he’ll make a good backup. Nathan will have to do better than a 3.91 ERA. Adams had an ERA of 2.10 with the Rangers.

    Btw, Evan Grant of the Dallas News reported that “it was believed” the 2 year contract is for approximately $7 in guaranteed money. That sounds more reasonable.

  3. mojosmagic - Nov 21, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    14.5 million guarenteed for a waged up Nathan? Makes Papelbon signing look cheap.

    • pound30 - Nov 21, 2011 at 11:01 PM

      Are you nuts? Pap got 50 million. I think Nathan at 14.5 with an option on the third is a much better ‘gamble’.

    • baseballisboring - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:32 AM

      It makes the Papelbon deal look even more ridiculous, really. If he’s 80% of what he used to be I think that’s good value, plus it’s about damn time they tried Feliz in the rotaton.

      • baseballisboring - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:42 AM

        Well…decent value anyway, in terms of money. I think being able to move Feliz makes it more worth it.

  4. Richard In Big D - Nov 21, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    Let C J shop, then match whatever he’s offered, and next year the Rangers will get a little closer to the brass ring. Oh, that’s right, you can’t get any closer! Could it be that the trophy will finally come to Arlington?

    • pound30 - Nov 21, 2011 at 11:03 PM

      I think this move basically says bye bye CJ. CJ is a good pitcher but the money he will get isn’t justifiable to the Rangers and I can’t blame them.

      • baseballisboring - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:36 AM

        Yeah, it does seem like they’re starting to work on plan B with this acquisition. I wonder if they add Buehrle or Oswalt to compensate, because even though Wilson might get a lot more money than he deserves, they’re still losing a good pitcher.

  5. loganjpat - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    Based on Nathan’s performance this year and his age/injury risk, this deal looks really bad to me. I realize that moving Feliz to the rotation is probably the right move, but if I was Texas, I’d rather have Adams or even Uehara at closer than Nathan. A one year deal would have been fine, but 2 years and an option? Yikes.

  6. pkiguy22 - Nov 22, 2011 at 6:23 AM

    Adams is the Rangers closer by June. Nathan didn’t look like himself last year and I know it takes a while to come back from surgery, but I just don’t think he is the same pitcher he once was.

  7. JB (the original) - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:08 AM

    I think this will end up being the steal of the FA signing season.

  8. nicosamuelson2 - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    Nathan is now the early favorite for Evan Grant’s 2012 Cy Young pick.

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