Texas Rangers Have Big Early Decision
The Rangers have some big decisions to make, and one of the first will be the status of Joe Nathan, the team’s lights-out closer for the last two seasons. When the World Series ends, Texas has three days to decide whether or not to exercise Nathan’s $9 million option for 2014. Complicating things, even if the Rangers do pull the trigger on the option, Nathan then will have 48 hours to either accept it or opt out and elect free agency.
Nathan, 39, is coming off a 43-save season, and no doubt would love to have a multi-year deal. The Rangers are estimated to have about $30 million to spend on free agents and other moves, and the $9 million option would eat up a large chunk of that.
Texas needs offense, especially at the first base position and perhaps a corner outfielder. Those needs are bigger than bringing Nathan back. Why? Two words: Tanner Scheppers.
Scheppers proved himself as a formidable reliever in 2013, serving as primary set-up man to Nathan. The 26-year-old appeared in 76 games, sporting a salty 1.88 ERA. He’s ready for this role. Save the money on Nathan and go get some offensive help. Brian McCann is certainly on the wish list at catcher, and moving on from Nathan can help make that a reality.
The Rangers have plenty of other options for the bullpen next season, including former closer Neftali Feliz, Alexei Ogando and Joakim Soria. Don’t be surprised if Jon Daniels lets Joe Nathan walk and goes shopping this winter.