Rangers beat writer Gerry Fraley answered questions in a chat Tuesday. Here are some highlights.
I’ll take my stab at answering the same questions
Question: I’m guessing Neftali Feliz will find another MPH or two next year (slow healer?). But it seems like he has three pitches he’s becoming more comfortable throwing anywhere in the count (not there yet, but it’s coming little by little). He could end up being another Joakim Soria, and that’s not bad.
Answer: First of all, if Feliz, a once dominating 100 MPH flame thrower ends up becoming Joakim Soria, that’s BAD…VERY BAD. I view Soria much like how I view Jon Daniels…they both have gotten by on their earlier accomplishments. Soria is ok, but he’s never really been a “feared” closer. Feliz, before the injury, was flat out intimidating. It’s hard to intimidate MLB hitters if you’re only throwing 90 mph. Fraley does make a good point about how Feliz has been forced to throw his other pitches more and how he’s becoming more of a pitcher vs relying only on his overpowering fastball. I do agree with that but it also tells me that he’s not 100% mentally over the injury. I do think he’ll get his velocity up over time, but I’m concerned about his mental state of mind. To be a successful closer, you have to have a “I don’t give a shit about you” attitude…Feliz is not there yet, and he may never get there.
Question: If Rougned Odor is 2B, what to do with Jurickson Profar? Surely not a DH
Answer:I do agree with Fraley that Profar needs to rebuild his career, but why put him back at ss if you have no plans or ability to trade Elvis? To me, that’s a waste of time. I don’t think he’s better than Elvis or Odor (I’m a HUGE believer in Odor) but I also don’t think you can afford to let him rot in the minor leagues. If it were me, I would try him in the outfield. The Rangers have a definite need there and it could take some stress off his arm and allow him to concentrate on his offense.
Question: Looks like Nelson Cruz is pulling out of his slump up on Baltimore. Until a couple of weeks, he was horrible for July. What do you think he’ll command next year and will we see him with the Orioles next season?
Answer: Again, I agree with Fraley that Nelly should stay in Baltimore…I’m just not sure they will want to pay him. I think JD regrets not signing him and I know Nelly regrets not taking the Rangers’ qualifying offer. I’d like to see him back in Texas, and I do think the Rangers will be in on him this offseason. I see Nelly getting a 2 yr deal worth about 14-15 mil per. No matter how good his numbers look, he’ll be 35 next season and nobody should commit long terms to a 35 year old DH.
Question: If the Rangers start off 2015 with a bust, do they fire sale the older bigger contracts?
Answer: I think they were close to selling this season so yeah, if they bomb next year, I do think they would try to sell some of the bigger contracts. That being said, I don’t think they would do a flat out fire sale, at least not while they still have Yu Darvish. If they want a chance to re-sign him when his deal expires, they would be complete morons to sell off all the best players and do a full on rebuild. Darvish signed here because we had a good young core that he expected to compete for a title…if that changes, you can bet your ass he’ll be looking elsewhere when he hits free agency.