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Washington Wants Proven Closer if Feliz Moves

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Jon Daniels

    Jon Daniels has made some stinker deals in his brief stint as the Rangers GM.

    Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young for Akinori Otsuka. Um, right.

    He's also made some good ones, highlighted by the Mark Teixeira deal to Atlanta that brought Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Elvis Andrus.

    Now, Daniels might have to make another key deal if Feliz ends up becoming a starter this year, which he now is aiming to do.

    Rangers manager Ron Washington said on Tuesday that if Feliz is moved to the starting rotation, he is confident Daniels will go out and deal for a proven closer, saying he doesn't want to go to bat with an unproven guy in the back of the bullpen, which is a valid concern.

    With internal candidates emerging this spring, such as Mark Lowe and Alexi Ogando, who's also been mentioned as a rotation candidate in a more hushed tone than Feliz, the Rangers have some talent there who could take the responsibility. But when you're a pennant contender, you don't want uncertainty at such an important position.

    The names out on the market aren't really all that appealing. One interesting name being thrown out has been Francisco Rodriguez, but that might be a bit lofty, and K-Rod is past his prime anyway. A more likely name might be someone like Jon Rauch, who took over for the injured Joe Nathan in Minnesota last year and racked up 21 saves. I don't think there's a star closer to be had for what the Rangers would want to give up, which might include a hot-hitting Chris Davis.

    One really interesting name is Jonathan Papelbon, who seems to have somewhat hit a wall in Boston and is being threatened by hard-throwing youngster Daniel Bard.

    But here's the thing about closers: Rarely do they excel for more than just a few years. Unless you're Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman, guys eventually figure you out and you're done. See Eric Gagne.

    It's a tricky situation. Ideally, Feliz will be back in the 9th inning this year.