Last year there was a lot of hemming and hawing over whether Neftali Feliz — who started all the way through the minor leagues before a year of closing — would return to the rotation. He started some in the spring, some words were offered to the effect that he’d start, but ultimately Ron Washington wanted him in the pen.
While it was obviously a successful season for the Rangers, they’re still thinking about Feliz in the rotation, and said this afternoon that the decision will be made before spring training begins this time, not after.
Both are good calls. Feliz as a starter makes all kinds of sense given the likely departure of C.J. Wilson and given that, even with Wilson, one or two more solid starts from someone during the postseason could have made the difference between the pen tiring out in the World Series or not. As for the timing of the decision: yes, let the young man know his role, let the manager use him in that role, and leave all of the uncertainty out of it.
I’m hoping we see Feliz start next year because it’s always better for good pitchers to start as opposed to relieve. But even if he stays put, not jerking him around like they did last year is a good thing too.