Should Neftali Feliz start or close in 2011?
December, 1, 2010
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
It seems that the question of whether Neftali Feliz will close or start is one that general manager Jon Daniels could be answering several more times this offseason.
Feliz's improvement with his secondary stuff makes it awfully tempting to see if he could become a starter like former late inning reliever/closer C.J. Wilson did in 2010. Daniels was asked about it again on Tuesday.
"Nefi did a tremendous job for us and we have a great comfort zone with him in that role anchoring the pen," Daniels said. "We’ve got the abilty to look at a variety of options. Some of that is going to be depend on what we can do this offseason. The first choice would be to keep him right where he is. But we have the sense that he has that type of ability where we can consider it as an option."
The plan remains to stretch Feliz and setup man Alexi Ogando out as starters in the spring and see what happens. They can easily get ready for the bullpen if there isn't room in the rotation.
Feliz had 40 saves in 2010 and was clearly a dominant closer. Do you move him out of that role and into a starting job? Is it completely dependent on whether Cliff Lee returns?
I've said that I'd leave him as a closer for now, whether Lee returns or not. He could get another year to work on his secondary stuff and if it continues to improve, he could get a shot to start in 2012 if the club feels he's up to it. But this is a guy who has the look of a young Mariano Rivera. Do you take him out of that job and make him a starter where he can impact more innings? It's tempting, but I wouldn't do it right now.
What would you do? Should Feliz start?