Monday, March 21, 2011

Texas Rangers Shopping for a Closer, Neftali Feliz to the Rotation?

With just a few weeks left before Opening Day for Major League Baseball, the Texas Rangers still have decisions to make not only with the starting rotation but also for the bullpen.

Oddly enough, it surrounds just one name.

Neftali Feliz.

The team's closer last season has been worked out as a starter during spring training and the team seems sold on bringing him in as a starter behind either C.J. Wilson or Colby Lewis. He's not going to be the ace of the staff so let's stop with those rumors.

Speaking of rumors, with Feliz potentially moving into the rotation it leaves an open spot at the back end of the bullpen. Who will be the closer for the Rangers in 2011?

A few names who have made their way onto the rumor sheets are current Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, San Diego Padres' closer Heath Bell, and Kansas City Royals' closer Joakim Soria.

The team could look internally to fill the spot but there really isn't a name that puts fear into opposing hitters.

We know the chips the Rangers have to trade and they happen to surround two different names, Michael Young and Chris Davis.

As far as I'm concerned we can take the Padres off the list because if Davis struggles at the plate in Arlington, a well known hitter's park, he won't have much luck at one of the best pitcher's parks in baseball, Petco Park.

However, the Padres are one team Michael Young can not refuse a trade to until his 10-and-5 rights kick in a few months from now. The Rangers have already made it clear they would be willing to assume most of Young's salary in order for them to move him.

That could definitely entice the Padres who don't exactly have the money to bring on the kind of contract Young still has coming to him.

I don't see the Red Sox trading Papelbon but it's not the first time I've heard his name mentioned in trade rumors. He came up prior to the trade deadline last year and again during this past off season.

He would definitely entice me if I'm the Rangers but the Red Sox don't have a full time position for Michael Young to assume. Not only that but the Sox would tell you they've already spent enough money for right now.

There is still time for decisions to be made but the Rangers are cutting it awfully close to Opening Day. It seems they want Feliz to be in the rotation but they need to figure out who their closer is going to be. A closer-by-committee isn't going to work and unless they can find the right trade scenario, they might need to fill it internally for now.

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