Tag:Neftali Feliz
Posted on: January 7, 2012 10:59 am
 

Rangers have 'checked in' on Ryan Madson

By Matt Snyder

With the market for closers being pretty thin at this point, would Ryan Madson sign with the Rangers? They already have their back-end set up with Joe Nathan as the closer and Mike Adams as the eighth-inning guy. CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports the Rangers have "checked in" on Madson.

If the market was so dried up for potential closers that Madson did have to accept an offer from the Rangers, they would have to be thanking their lucky stars. Madson, 31, saved 32 of 34 games last season with a 2.37 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings. He's actually a better closing option than Nathan at this point.

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Nathan had 14 saves with a 4.84 ERA last season as he returned from Tommy John surgery. He was an elite closer from 2004-09, but he's also 37 years old.

The interesting issue is that the Rangers signed Nathan to a two-year deal, presumably to be the closer. If they moved on Madson, do they end up with a disgruntled Nathan?

Meantime, the most important thing on the two-time defending AL champs' plate is signing Yu Darvish, who would join the starting rotation with Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and former closer Neftali Feliz.

Hypothetically speaking, if the Rangers did sign both Darvish and Madson, that's one stellar pitching staff, top to bottom. And we already know how good the offense and defense are.

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Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:35 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 6:13 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Texas Rangers

Mark Teixeira

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

The Rangers are in an interesting position in the franchise's history -- no longer a middle-of-the-road team, the Rangers have turned themselves into one of the game's biggest players. The team has reached the last two World Series with a mixture of homegrown players (Ian Kinsler, C.J. Wilson, Alexi Ogando), savvy trades (sending Mark Teixeira to Atlanta for a haul that included Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz, plus the deal with the Reds getting Josh Hamilton) and big-ticket free-agents (Adrian Beltre). It's tough to argue with the results, as the Rangers have positioned themselves into becoming one of the top teams in baseball and don't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Lineup

1. Ian Kinsler, SS
2. Craig Gentry, CF
3. Mark Teixeira, 3B
4. Carlos Pena, 1B
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Edwin Encarnacion, 2B
7. Laynce Nix, RF
8. John Mayberry, LF
9. Taylor Teagarden, C

Starting Rotation

1. C.J. Wilson
2. John Danks
3. Derek Holland
4. Colby Lewis
5. Ryan Dempster

Bullpen

Closer - Joaquin Benoit
Set up - Darren Oliver, Nick Masset, Scott Feldman, Jesse Chavez, Yoshinori Tateyama
Long - Tommy Hunter

Notable Bench Players

Ivan Rodriguez will be in discussion for the Hall of Fame when his career ends, but he's now a backup catcher and could be a good one. You have a pair of first baseen in Justin Smoak and Mitch Moreland who aren't going to strike fear into too many pitchers, as well as two outfielders probably better defensively or as pinch runners in Jason Bourgeois and Scott Podsednik.

What's Good?

The rotation is deep -- in addition to the five listed, you could also throw in R.A. Dickey, Aaron Harang and Edinson Volquez. And while there's no real shut-down closer, there are some very good bullpen arms, and the list above doesn't include Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Danny Herrera.

What's Not?

Besides Kinsler and Teixeira, the lineup is suspect. And the defense is worse. The outfield is kind of a hodgepodge, while the infield is a disaster with only Carlos Pena playing in his usual position. While Teixeira hasn't played third base since his rookie year in 2003, Kinsler has never played shortstop, nor has Encarnacion ever played second base -- but there just wasn't a whole lot of options. The outfield doesn't have the likes of Hamilton or Nelson Cruz to help out, either.

Comparison to real 2011

Would this team wind up in World Series? Not bloody likely. The pitching is fine and even maybe an slight upgrade to the team that won the American League pennant again in 2011, but that lineup is demonstratively worse. The Rangers were third in baseball in runs and second in OPS, and without Hamilton, Cruz, Mike Napoli, Michael Young and Beltre, this squad isn't going to do anything close to that. Teixeira is a good player -- and Pena could put up big homer numbers in that ballpark -- but those losses from the real squad are just too much to overcome. This team is maybe a .500 squad, at best, and that's only because of the depth in the pitching staff.

Next: St. Louis Cardinals

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 11:15 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 7:31 am
 

Rangers have highest bid for Yu Darvish



By Matt Snyder


Yu Darvish could be headed to America very soon. The Texas Rangers have won the bidding for the Japanese phenom, Major League Baseball announced late Monday night. The Rangers did so with a bid of more than $51.7 million, sources told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler (Jeff Passan of Yahoo first reported exactly $51.7 million). That money will be paid to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters once a contract -- independent of the posting fee -- is agreed upon with Darvish. The Rangers have 30 days to agree to terms with Darvish, otherwise they won't pay the posting fee and Darvish remains the property of the Fighters.

"We were pleased to learn that the Texas Rangers were the high-bidders for Yu Darvish," agent Arn Tellem said in a statement. "The Rangers are an extraordinary franchise in an exceptional city with equally exceptional fans. Yu is honored to be prized so highly and recognized as a once-in-a-generation pitcher. We look forward to getting negotiations underway."

Darvish to Texas
Darvish, a 25-year-old right-hander, has been the ace of the Fighters for five years. In those five seasons, Darvish is 76-28 with a sparkling 1.72 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. He's struck out 9.5 batters per nine innings and walked just 1.9 per nine. He's also thrown 50 complete games and 15 shutouts. In 2011, Darvish went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 276 strikeouts in 232 innings with 10 complete games and six shutouts.

Darvish may very well serve as the ace for the Rangers, though they seem to not really need titles on that rotation. Darvish will join Colby Lewis, Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison to form a pretty solid 1-5 rotation for the two-time defending AL champs.

Also, this means the Rangers can leave both Alexi Ogando and Scott Feldman in the bullpen in front of eight-inning man Mike Adams and closer Joe Nathan, giving them a very formidable final four to close out games. Nothing is set in stone yet, as the Rangers could still elect to use Ogando in the rotation. They certainly have options.

Darvish actually has some family roots in America. His Iranian father attended high school in Massachusetts and played soccer at Eckard College in Florida, which is where he met Darvish's Japanese mother.

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 11:15 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 7:31 am
 

Rangers have highest bid for Yu Darvish



By Matt Snyder


Yu Darvish could be headed to America very soon. The Texas Rangers have won the bidding for the Japanese phenom, Major League Baseball announced late Monday night. The Rangers did so with a bid of more than $51.7 million, sources told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler (Jeff Passan of Yahoo first reported exactly $51.7 million). That money will be paid to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters once a contract -- independent of the posting fee -- is agreed upon with Darvish. The Rangers have 30 days to agree to terms with Darvish, otherwise they won't pay the posting fee and Darvish remains the property of the Fighters.

"We were pleased to learn that the Texas Rangers were the high-bidders for Yu Darvish," agent Arn Tellem said in a statement. "The Rangers are an extraordinary franchise in an exceptional city with equally exceptional fans. Yu is honored to be prized so highly and recognized as a once-in-a-generation pitcher. We look forward to getting negotiations underway."

Darvish to Texas
Darvish, a 25-year-old right-hander, has been the ace of the Fighters for five years. In those five seasons, Darvish is 76-28 with a sparkling 1.72 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. He's struck out 9.5 batters per nine innings and walked just 1.9 per nine. He's also thrown 50 complete games and 15 shutouts. In 2011, Darvish went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 276 strikeouts in 232 innings with 10 complete games and six shutouts.

Darvish may very well serve as the ace for the Rangers, though they seem to not really need titles on that rotation. Darvish will join Colby Lewis, Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison to form a pretty solid 1-5 rotation for the two-time defending AL champs.

Also, this means the Rangers can leave both Alexi Ogando and Scott Feldman in the bullpen in front of eight-inning man Mike Adams and closer Joe Nathan, giving them a very formidable final four to close out games. Nothing is set in stone yet, as the Rangers could still elect to use Ogando in the rotation. They certainly have options.

Darvish actually has some family roots in America. His Iranian father attended high school in Massachusetts and played soccer at Eckard College in Florida, which is where he met Darvish's Japanese mother.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: December 10, 2011 11:00 pm
 

Red Sox to experiment with Bard as a starter

Daniel Bard

By C. Trent Rosecrans

By most accounts -- or guesses, really at this point -- Daniel Bard appears to be the closer for the Red Sox in 2012. However, going into spring training, Bard will work as a starter, new manager Bobby Valentine said on Saturday.

Speaking to a live audience of fans at Christmas at Fenway, Valentine said he's already spoken to the 26-year-old Bard about working as a starter at the beginning of spring training.

"He's going to be penciled in to be one of those guys who works going from his bullpen to pitching two innings to pitching four innings to pitching six innings," Valentine said (via the Boston Globe). "Whenever we get to that plateau, with the pitching coach I'll hopefully have by my side soon, and all the members of the staff and front office. We'll have to make a determination after that 18-20 inning mark as to where he will be during the season. I told him to prepare to be a starter and if that, in fact, does not happen to be ready and willing to be our closer."

Bard went 2-9 with a 3.33 ERA with a save in 2011, with 74 strikeouts in 73 innings. In his three years in the majors, Bard is 5-13 with a 2.88 ERA and five saves, striking out 213 in 197 innings. He hasn't started a game in the big leagues.

A starter in college at North carolina, Bard started 22 games in 2007, his first year of professional baseball, but hasn't started since. He was 3-7 with a 7.08 ERA at Low-A and High-A in 2007, striking out 47 and walking 78 in 75 innings. He was switched to the bullpen the next season and shot through the minor leagues to the big leagues in 2009.

The move would be similar to what the Rangers have recently done with Alexi Ogando and Neftali Feliz. Ogando stuck in the rotation last season, while Feliz was moved back to the bullpen and used as the team's closer. He's expected to move to the rotation in 2012. Former Ranger and now-Angel, C.J. Wilson was also moved from the bullpen to the rotation in Texas to great success.

The Red Sox could still sign a closer, Ryan Madson and Francisco Cordero are still all the free-agent market. Boston could also turn to former White Sox closer Bobby Jenks, already under contract with the Red Sox. The team could also put another reliever, Alfredo Aceves, into a starter's role in the spring.

Alternately, the team could sign a free-agent starter, such as Roy Oswalt or Hiroki Kuroda, and move Bard back into the closer's role.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 1:38 pm
 

How will Texas respond to Angels' challenge?



By C. Trent Rosecrans

A year ago the Rangers were crushed when Cliff Lee went to Philadelphia. This year they expected to lose C.J. Wilson, but the difference is the landing spot. Lee went to the National League, Wilson is staying in the American League West -- and joining Albert Pujols in Anaheim.

The Rangers will now step back and reassess where they stand in regards to their divisional rival.

"Our job just got more challenging," Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler. "We just saw him seven games and I can't say we figured him out."

The question now is whether the Rangers try to counter with big moves of their own. It's still possible, despite the denials of team president Nolan Ryan, that the team goes after Prince Fielder. Ryan says the team is comfortable with Mitch Moreland at first base, but he said the same last year about Michael Young and third base before signing Adrian Beltre.

MLB Winter Meetings

And then there's the rotation. As it stands now, the Rangers rotation is Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Alexi Ogando, Matt Harrison and Neftali Feliz. That's not bad, but it's not the Angels' rotation.

Feliz -- like Wilson and Ogando before him -- is being moved from the bullpen to the rotation. It's worked well enough before for the Rangers, so this could work. Feliz came up in the minors as a starter, starting 27 games in 2008 and 13 in 2009, the last time he started. The Rangers also signed Joe Nathan to make sure they had an experienced closer to fill his shoes.

Another possibility is moving Scott Feldman back to the rotation. The 28-year-old right-hander started two games in 2011 and has 80 career starts under his belt. Feldman won 17 games in 2009 and is 29-28 with a 4.69 ERA in his career as a starter, striking out 4.8 batters per nine innings, down from the 5.6 strikeouts per nine as a reliever.

Texas, though, could very well go outside of their organization to bolster their staff. General manager Jon Daniels scouted Yu Darvish in person this past season and the team has had success in Japan before with Lewis. Darvish, though, must go through the posting system, which is hardly a sure thing on a blind bid for the posting fee.

Another possibility is Matt Garza. The Cubs have let it be known they are open to trading anyone -- including the 28-year-old right-hander is arbitration-eligible and will be a free agent after the 2013 season. Garza went 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA in his first year in Chicago. The Rangers are talking to the Cubs about a deal for Garza, who would help their rotation.

Roy Oswalt is also a free agent and could be a fallback option.

The Angels shocked the baseball world on Thursday, the Rangers were among them. But the Rangers are unlikely to sit still and will certainly be worth watching going forward.

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Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 5:10 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Atlanta Braves

Elvis Andrus

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

The Braves have seemingly always believed in developing talent from within and occasionally supplementing from the outside. It's a formula that's worked for many years and has become a blueprint for most of baseball. However, that doesn't mean they don't make mistakes from time to time, and if you're a Braves fan, you probably already rue the date July 31, 2007, already. On that day, the Braves sent Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Beau Jones to the Rangers for Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay. The Rangers have been to two World Series since the trade and the Braves none.  

Lineup

1. Elvis Andrus, SS
2. Martin Prado, LF
3. Brian McCann, C
4. Chipper Jones, 3B
5. Jeff Francoeur, RF
6. Freddie Freeman, 1B
7. Jason Heyward, CF
8. Kelly Johnson, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Adam Wainwright
2. Tommy Hanson
3. Brandon Beachy
4. Matt Harrison
5. Mike Minor

Bullpen

Closer - Craig Kimbrel
Set up - Neftali Feliz, Jonny Venters, Matt Belisle, Julio Teheran, Charlie Morton
Long - Bruce Chen

Notable Bench Players

Adam LaRoche, Mark DeRosa, Rafael Furcal, Yunel Escobar, Wilson Betemit, Andruw Jones, Jordan Schafer, Tyler Flowers, Brayan Pena and Garrett Jones give this team an acceptable backup at every spot on the diamond and more. 

What's Good?

The depth is incredible -- in the pitching staff and the position players. Even if Wainwright weren't available because of his injury, the team has Chen, Morton or the rookie Teheran to step in, or they could move Feliz to the rotation without even having to look anywhere else for its closer.

What's Not?

Heyward is playing out of position in center -- it was between him and Francoeur, so I went with Heyward. Other than that? Well, Wainwright might still have been injured and the rotation is young, but talented.

Comparison to real 2011

There's no chance this team would have missed the playoffs, like their real-life counterparts did. The rotation is solid (even without Wainwright) and would have given first-year manager Fredi Gonzalez more innings, meaning he may not have run Kimbrel and Venters into the ground. The lineup has enough punch to aid that goal. Does this team win the World Series? Maybe. The rotation isn't a postseason killer -- yet, but there's certainly potential.

Next: Toronto Blue Jays

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Posted on: November 21, 2011 8:11 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 11:02 pm
 

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

By Matt Snyder

The Texas Rangers have signed former Twins closer Joe Nathan, the team announced Monday night. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the deal is for two years and $14.5 million with a club option for 2014.

The plan all along was to move Neftali Feliz into the starting rotation, and this signing only reinforces those plans -- with Mike Adams and Joe Nathan now forming the back-end of the Texas bullpen. Feliz has been told he's moving to the rotation.

“Jon Daniels and Ron Washington called me a couple of days ago and told me about the team’s decision for me to be a starting pitcher next season," Feliz said in a statement. "I was a starter for my whole career before I came to the major leagues. I am happy to know the team’s decision this early, and I have plenty of time to get ready. I have already started running."

Nathan was one of baseball's premier closers from 2004-09. He was a four-time All-Star who twice finished in the top five of Cy Young voting. His average season in that stretch was 41 saves with a 1.87 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 86 strikeouts in 70 innings. That would be a career year for many, many pitchers, but that was the average season for Nathan.

Closing Time
But then he tore the ulnar-collateral ligament in his right (throwing) elbow prior to the 2010 season and needed to have Tommy John surgery. It caused him to miss all of 2010. In 2011, Nathan wasn't himself in the early going, as he probably just wasn't fully recovered. From his June 25 return to the end of the season, Nathan had 11 saves and six holds against just one blown save with a 3.38 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and nearly a strikeout per inning. Given a full offseason, it's possible Nathan gets closer back to previous form, though at age 37 (it's actually his birthday Tuesday), the odds of him getting all the way back to pre-surgery form aren't great.

If your favorite team is still in need of a closer, don't fret. Heath Bell, Ryan Madson, Francisco Cordero and Francisco Rodriguez are still free agents along with cheaper options like Jonathan Broxton, Matt Capps and Brad Lidge. Plus, Huston Street and Andrew Bailey appear to be available via trade.

Finally, with Feliz's official move to the rotation, the odds of the Rangers letting free agent starter C.J. Wilson walk increase. Feliz will likely join the foursome of Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and either Alexi Ogando or Scott Feldman. If the Rangers do choose to re-up with Wilson, both Ogando and Feldman could pitch out of the bullpen.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com