When the Texas Rangers decided to move Neftali Feliz to the starting rotation, most of the Rangers' fanbase understood the potential there and figured the Rangers would go get a big-name replacement for their young star closer.
Names like Jonathan Papelbon were available on the free agent market. So was Heath Bell, Mike Adams' old teammate from San Diego. But the Rangers went out and got a past-his-prime closer who was coming off Tommy John surgery instead, and the questions arose.
Nathan, 37, was a four-time all-star with the Minnesota Twins, and was so dominant as a closer that he finished in the top 5 for the AL Cy Young voting twice, with three seasons of more than 40 saves. But elbow surgery put a big question mark on his career and it was thought his best days were behind him.
The way things started in his Rangers tenure certainly didn't help to dispell those thoughts.
After his fouth outing of the season, he had two saves. But he also had two losses — a blown save and a straight loss, and his ERA was up to 9.00 as Rangers fandom began questioning the team's decision to sign Nathan to not one, but two years in the off-season.
Since then, he's been great. He's had nine straight saves and has allowed only one run in 18 outings since his blown save on April 11 against the Mariners.
For the season now, he's up to 26 strikeouts with just two walks. Not bad for a guy that was washed up and had arm trouble.