SURPRISE, Ariz. – It’s a fair question to ask as the Rangers bullpen struggles this spring: Did Jon Daniels make a mistake by trading Frank Francisco for Mike Napoli?
With a healthy Francisco in the bullpen, the Neftali Feliz decision would be easy. Feliz would already be in the rotation if the Rangers felt like they had a reliable replacement at closer.
“When he was healthy, he was very good for us, no doubt,” Daniels said of Francisco.
However, as Daniels noted, Francisco isn’t healthy. He reportedly plans to visit Dr. James Andrews this week to get a second opinion on his sore pectoral. Francisco was shut down early last season, missing the playoffs due to a strained rib cage.
Napoli will be a part-time player for the Rangers. He’s a guy who hits well against lefties and will get into the lineup at designated hitter, catcher and first base.
Is that more valuable than a set-up man with closer experience? Daniels thinks so, especially considering Francisco’s health issues.