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Nathan Likes Facing AL West Foes

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Nathan Likes Facing AL West Foes

Joe Nathan brings his 22 saves to the AL All Star team.

Yes, Joe Nathan is 37 years old.

Yes, pushing Neftali Feliz to the starting rotation is far from guaranteed success.

Yes, $14.5 million is a lot to give a 37-year-old closer who's had arm trouble.

But one thing can be universally recognized about the Texas Rangers' free agent signing of the veteran closer: Joe Nathan loves facing the AL West.

Thanks to our Rangers information czar Jamey Newberg for the information, as he pointed out Wednesday that Nathan has been rather dominant against the Rangers' division opponents: the A's, the Angels and the Mariners.

In fact, against those three teams in his career, he's pitched 83 innings giving up just 10 earned runs and 46 hits for a salty opponents batting average of .160. If you break it down to the current guys in the projected Angels lineup, the team that will presumably give the Rangers the biggest push in 2012 has hit a collective .079 against Nathan.

So yes, there's all the aforementioned red flags, but remember, most of the time when pitchers return from Tommy John surgery it takes them about 18 months to get back to full strength. And a lot of the times, they come back stronger than ever before.

So is $14.5 million too much to pay a 37-year-old closer? Probably. Is it possible for Nathan to be the best he's ever been for those two years? Yes.

I go back to what Rangers fans should use as a calming effect if you're having doubts about this signing. Jon Daniels & Co. haven't made many bad deals as of late, so it's OK to trust them.

Related Topics Joe Nathan, AL West
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