2013 Bullpen Centered Around Nathan - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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2013 Bullpen Centered Around Nathan



    The Texas Rangers have had one of baseball's best bullpens over recent years with very few moving parts.

    Heading into 2013, the bullpen is possibly the club's biggest question mark — well, everyone except aging, yet highly effective, closer Joe Nathan.

    After his stellar 2012, Nathan will be the team's closer barring injury or just physical breakdown but he showed last year that he's in exceptional shape and can handle the summer heat that comes with pitching in Texas.

    The 38-year-old finished with 37 saves and a 2.80 ERA with an incredible 78 strikeouts to only 13 walks.

    Behind Nathan this year will be lots of new faces though. In fact, Rangers manager Ron Washington has said the only guys with guaranteed spots in the pen are Nathan and newly acquired Jason Frasor, who joins the team from Toronto. After that, it's all murky.

    You'd have to think Robbie Ross has a spot locked up in the bullpen after his breakout rookie season last year, but there's still a possibility he could be in the starting rotation, which claimed another valuable piece to the Rangers' bullpen in Alexi Ogando.

    The Rangers have waited for guys like Michael Kirkman and Tanner Scheppers to emerge for a couple of years now, and are still waiting. Their time might be running out although both showed a little promise last season. The wild card here is Joakim Soria, who was an elite closer just two years ago but hasn't pitched after undergoing elbow reconstruction. He's set to return in late May or early June. Then there's Neftali Feliz, the former AL Rookie of the Year and 40-save closer who is rehabbing from Tommy John and could pitch again this season.

    "I feel good that we're going to put together a good bullpen based on the options we have," Daniels told ESPN Dallas. "We trust our scouts and we trust our staff here to put guys in the right roles."

    It'll be an interesting competition in the bullpen for sure, but be prepared to see plenty of new faces and get over your love affairs with Mike Adams and Koji Uehara. I know, it makes us sad too.