Back before the 2012 season, it wasn't real clear if Neftali Feliz wanted to be a starting pitcher or a closer for the Texas Rangers. Sure, he said he wanted to start, but you almost got the feeling it was more of what the organization wanted from him, and at the time it made sense.
But the former AL Rookie of the Year and all-star closer had a rough time as a starter in 2012, eventually ending up on the shelf with Tommy John surgery before resurfacing late last season out of the bullpen. And now, he appears to be the favorite to be the Rangers closer in 2014, replacing the departed Joe Nathan, who replaced Feliz as the team's closer in 2012.
Feliz told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan that he wants to remain a reliever for the rest of his career, and that's great news for the Rangers, and for himself that he's come to that conclusion.
Feliz is one of those guys with a huge arm and one dominant pitch. He's worked on a slider that's gotten better and better but it's still not exactly a great arsenal for a frontline starter. If Feliz is going to be a starter, he needs to be a frontline one because you could make a really solid argument that an all-star closer is more valuable than a No. 4 starter. And in this Rangers' rotation, Feliz would be battling for the No. 5 spot in the rotation.