March 20, 2011


Texas' entire pitching outlook hinges on Feliz: Rangers hold meeting to discuss righty's immediate destiny (T.R. Sullivan /

The Rangers held another summit meeting to discuss their pitching staff on Sunday. Neftali Feliz was high on the agenda.

There is almost nothing else to discuss. Feliz remains the fulcrum around which all other pitching decisions revolve. Until the Rangers figure whether Feliz will start or remain the closer, other issues will go unresolved. That one big decision hasn't been made yet.

"We talked about a lot of things, but obviously his role on the club influences more than one guy and how the other dominoes fall," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said after the meeting. "As a group, we know he's capable of starting and we know he will excel at the back end of the bullpen. It's what's best for the team. We're still working through that."

There is little question that if the Rangers go strictly by immediate need, Feliz will remain as a closer and Alexi Ogando will remain as the right-handed setup reliever. That's where they are needed most right now. Feliz said his goal is to be a starter but will understand if the Rangers decide otherwise.

Thirty years into the analytic era of baseball how can anyone still call this a tough decision? It's really freakin' hard to find and develop elite starting pitchers, which Neftali Feliz could be. On the other hand, his peers among the AL saves leaders last year are a flock of former set-up men, failed starters, formerly released guys, etc. It's too much to say that you can make any warm body into a closer, but not by much.

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Posted by at March 20, 2011 4:45 PM

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