Mike Adams Traded to Texas Rangers: Does This Open Up Neftali Feliz to Rotation?

Ray TannockSenior Analyst IJuly 31, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 6: Mike Adams #37 of the San Diego Padres pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the eighth inning during an MLB baseball game at AT&T Park July 6, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan is confirming that the Texas Rangers have acquired reliever Mike Adams—not Heath Bell—in exchange for minor league pitchers Ronnie Erlin and Joe Wieland.

So, does that open the door for Neftali Feliz as a possible starter in 2012?

It isn’t any mystery that the Rangers have explored the idea, and in fact, they even fooled around with the notion at the start of the 2011 season, but ultimately went with the 'pen.

Neftali is widely viewed as a pitcher who is ready to make the leap from closer to starter, and it isn’t as if the Rangers are without a roster opening—at least at the moment—now that Tommy Hunter is gone.

Then there is Mr. Adams.

Adams is under contract until 2012, and is actually a better reliever than Bell statistically—a total closer package with a stellar 1.13 ERA in 48 innings of work.

So, the initial answer is this: The situation shows the possibility, but the player may not quite be ready yet, despite what many think.

There is no question that Feliz has the goods to become either an impact starter, or remain a quality closer.

But Feliz has shown some struggles and bizarre inconsistencies this year that suggest a move to the rotation would be premature, barring the unforeseen.

His 3.35 ERA and 1.30 WHIP are both satisfactory, but his 26/20 K/BB rate through 37.2 innings is not so good, since it does suggest command issues, among other things.

Like I said, the possibility is certainly there, and the situation affords Feliz the opportunity.

But just because a door is open, doesn’t always mean you should walk through it, and unless Feliz can drum up some permanent improvements on his command, he may be better off sticking to his current duty.