Breaking News: Joe Nathan Signs with Rangers

by JohnBowen

The Rangers and Joe Nathan have to a 2 year, 14.5 million dollar contract, which includes a 9 million dollar option.

The rumor in play is that the Rangers will make Nathan their closer and move Neftali Feliz from the closer’s role to the rotation. The Rangers appear to be very good at this, having converted both C.J. Wilson and Alexi Ogando from relievers to starters in the last few years.

The 36-year old Nathan was one of the best closers in the game from 2004-2009, averaging a 1.87 ERA, 0.934 WHIP, 11.1 K/9, and 41 saves a year during that 6-year span. By comparison, Mariano Rivera’s numbers during that same time period? 1.90, 0.936, 8.7 and 40. However, Nathan missed the entire 2010 season to Tommy John Surgery, and struggled through a rough 2011 in which he was replaced in early April by Matt Capps in the closer’s role.

Personally, I think this is too risky a move for someone with Nathan’s age and recent injury past – and there’s an inherent risk in moving Feliz, although it was bound to happen sooner or later. What do you think?

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15 Responses to “Breaking News: Joe Nathan Signs with Rangers”

  1. Cameron Says:

    Yeah… Nathan was a bad choice for Texas. They should’ve sprung for a closer with more recent success like Madson or Bell. If this fails, Texas is fucked.

    …Wait, do they still have Mike Adams and Koji Uehara? They’ve got good fallbacks.

  2. JohnBowen Says:

    Adams for 1 year.

    Uehara for 3 years, but he’s old as shit already.

    I disagree about going after Madson/Bell. They’re gonna command too many years, too much money for a reliever to realistically be worth.

  3. Cameron Says:

    Nathan signed for 2/14.5 after being gone in ‘10 and being less than spectacular this year. Signing Bell for 3/30 would be a smarter move than Nathan for 2/14.5.

  4. Lefty33 Says:

    It’s a good move for Texas because the years are what they should be but, like Cameron pointed out, 14 million for a guy who has looked really bad after a TJ at his age is a hell of a risk.

    Hopefully they really did their due diligence with his health before the signing.

  5. Chuck Says:

    Finally…Feliz goes back to the rotation.

    Where he’s ALWAYS belonged.

  6. Cameron Says:

    Hopefully, though if it were that risk I’d have sent out a scout to check his stuff, see if he still looked anything like Joe Nathan. Still, they’ve got enough guys in the back end to eat it if it goes bad, but this is still a bad signing.

    And I hope Feliz does well. From what I’ve seen, Feliz had the occasional game-destroying implosion more often than most closers. He gets rocked easily, I hope giving him more innings doesn’t actually hurt the team.

  7. Chuck Says:

    Did you guys see this?

    Mariners outfielder Greg Halman stabbed to death by his brother.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20111121&content_id=26015348&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

  8. Cameron Says:

    Yep, I believe Bob brought that up yesterday morning. That was fucked up.

  9. Raul Says:

    If Feliz pitched for the Yankees, John would be losing his sh*t talking about “The Joba Rules 2.0″.

    This is the problem with putting your good young pitchers in the bullpen, when they have success, you get all hesitant to continue them on the path they were originally assigned.

    Feliz should have been in the rotation last year. Instead they just wasted another season of his development. To the point that he got such a good taste for relieving, he actually said he prefers to stay in the bullpen. And who could blame him? The money-to-work ratio is a lot better.

  10. JohnBowen Says:

    If Feliz pitched for the Yankees, John would be losing his sh*t talking about “The Joba Rules 2.0″.

    Why would I? If the Rangers flip him back 3 more times, then that’ll apply.

    Feliz probably isn’t wild about this idea after seeing the 50M that Papelbon banked this off-season.

  11. Cameron Says:

    What money to work ratio? Guy’s making league minimum either way.

  12. JohnBowen Says:

    “What money to work ratio? Guy’s making league minimum either way.”

    Point still stands. If he makes the same amount of money and pitches three times as much, then his money to work ratio has gone down by a factor of 3.

    And that’s not counting the future, with arbitration and free agency.

    Rumors were always that Jonathon Papelbon was going to be moved into the rotation eventually too. It never happened, and Papelbon is probably better off for it.

  13. Cameron Says:

    Yes, but Feliz should be happier as a starter than a reliever. The average starter makes more money than the average reliever. Off the top of my head, the pay is about 3-4 times greater.

    Also, I think they tried Papelbon as a starter in spring training of… I wanna say 2006. At the very least they were pitching him in simulated games that year and it was clear that, at best, Paps could go three innings before his arm imploded.

  14. Raul Says:

    Papelbon pitched 129 innings as a 23 year old in 2004.
    He pitched a combined 150 innings as a 24 year old in 2005 between the minors and majors.

    In 2006, he was made the closer and pitched 68 innings.

    Papelbon could have been brought along as a starter. The Red Sox chose not to because the bullpen was trash as Keith Foulke was falling apart.

  15. Cameron Says:

    I suppose, but Papelbon seems, to the best of my knowledge, to be someone like Mariano Rivera. He was a decent starter with good stuff, but the guy had real endurance problems and when they tried him against MLB hitting for games (I think this was either ST or just simulated games in offseason practice), the guy’s arm turned into a pumpkin pretty damn fast.

    If a guy can handle MLB pitching, but only for a few innings, I don’t see the problem with a bullpen move. Some guys would be good at it. I look at Luke Hochevar and as soon as the fifth inning rolls around, he’s toast. As a reliever, he could be decent.

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