May 13, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Neftali Feliz (30) throws a pitch during the first inning of the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Rumors: Neftali Feliz expected to become Texas Rangers closer

The Texas Rangers opted to let Joe Nathan walk in free agency this offseason in hopes of clearing up some salary.

It was an effective decision as the Rangers added a few hefty contracts to their payroll, but without Nathan in the fold, the Rangers are still in need of a closer.

Reports had linked Texas to a handful of closers in the free agent market, but with their prices far too high, it’s expected Neftali Feliez will become the Rangers closer – at least to start the season:

Feliz appears to be healthy again, which puts him in position to be the Rangers’ closer coming out of Spring Training. If Feliz is not ready, the Rangers could turn to premier setup reliever Tanner Scheppers or former Royals All-Star closer Joakim Soria. All are potentially good options but right now the job is Feliz’s to lose.

Closing wouldn’t be new to Feliz, who held down the role in both the 2010 and 2011 seasons and should thrive in the role again assuming his return from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery goes as planned.

Tags: Neftali Feliz Texas Rangers