Feliz Navidad: Neftali officially back as Texas closer

The Texas Rangers probably made a strategical error Thursday, but most fantasy owners won't mind. Ron Washington made things easier in our make-believe world.

Neftali Feliz(notes) was officially re-installed as the Texas closer Thursday (credit Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram with the scoop), and that's a benefit to his immediate fantasy value. While Feliz would be viewed as a potential star in the rotation, we know he's already a lights-out guy in the ninth. He's easier to price now, as well; anyone logical will consider Feliz a Top 5 closer entering the 2011 season.

Long-term, the Rangers would be wise to consider Feliz in the rotation. Getting 200 innings from an elite arm helps a team far more than 70-80 innings of relief work. Sure, the ratios won't be as pretty in the rotation, but that's just the nature of the jobs here. Starting is harder work, considerably harder. Pitching one inning a few times a week really isn't that difficult, and despite all the mythology at play, closing is a pretty easy gig.

The shift of Feliz also cleans up the mystery surrounding the back of the Texas starting rotation. We already knew Colby Lewis(notes) and C.J. Wilson(notes) were set; they'll be joined by Tommy Hunter(notes), Derek Holland(notes) and Matt Harrison(notes). Holland makes sense as a late-round stash-and-hope play in standard mixers; you can talk yourself into Hunter and Harrison on your own.


Image courtesy Associated Press

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