|Joe Nathan had 14 saves and a 4.84 ERA in 2011,|
his first season back after ligament replacement surgery.
The Rangers are reported to have told Neftali Feliz that he's moving to the rotation, taking the spot being vacated by free-agent C.J. Wilson. Nathan inherits the closers job for the team that represented the American League the past two years in the World Series.
I expected Nathan to return, and I'm sorry to see him move on. But I'm not despondent about his departure.
He turns 37 on Tuesday, and even in his much-improved second half he allowed three homers in 23 innings and had an ERA of 3.91. Maybe he can still return to the fabulous level he maintained for his first six years with the Twins, but the odds are against it.
The next question is: How will the Twins rework their bullpen for 2012?
This will be grist for many a future post, but my off-the-top-of-my-head idea is that if the Twins are serious about making Brian Duensing a relief pitcher, they might as well tab Glen Perkins for the closer job. Perkins, Duensing and Jose Mijares would make a very deep lefty bullpen corps, and I don't know that they'd get proper use out of them if they're all strictly LOOGYs.
I'd rather see the Twins put their discretionary payroll money into something other than a "proven closer."