Thursday, March 24, 2011

Texas Rangers: Neftali Feliz Will Remain The Team's Closer

It's been the subject of conversation among not only the media but the fans of the Texas Rangers as well. Would Neftali Feliz step up into the rotation or would he remain as the closer?

The question seems to have been answered as ESPN's Buster Olney reports the Rangers have decided they will keep Feliz as their closer.

"We looked at all the options of the rotation with him in it and him not and the bullpen with him in it and him not," manager Ron Washington told the media earlier today. "The need is greater in the bullpen."

Of course, that hasn't stopped fan from piling on the team for not giving him the chance to be a part of the rotation. Not sure if they were thinking he'd be another version, a younger version, of Cliff Lee. Seems to me that expectation is a little much to put on a young man who's only in his first few seasons in the big leagues.

So, with that decision announced just a little while ago, the rotation sets up as follows:

C.J. Wilson
Colby Lewis
Matt Harrison
Tommy Hunter
Derek Holland

According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Feliz will pitch against the San Diego Padres tonight in Surprize, Arizona but is expected to pitch the ninth inning instead of being the starter.

This is the right move for the Texas Rangers moving forward. No matter how many fans want to grumble about it and talk about how Feliz was going to be the next "star," there was nothing to prove he could go six to seven innings every fifth day.

He's never been a starter in the big leagues and he's too young for this to be an "experiment."

After coming off an American League Championship, why mess with success? Why change something when it got them as far as it did?

The argument a closer isn't as important as a starter is one that can be debated. While a closer means nothing when your team is up five runs or more, coming in with a one run lead and the game on the line takes a mentality a lot of pitchers can't handle.

Feliz did exactly that all last season.

This debate is going to be hotly contested over the next few months. Make no mistake about it, the first time Feliz blows a save, this argument will be brought up by every media outlet and every fan.

As Ron Washington says, "that's the way baseball go."

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