ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have declined their option on right-hander Scott Feldman, making him a free agent. The club decided to pay a $600,000 buyout instead of picking up his $9.25 million salary for 2013.The Rangers also declined to pick up their option on righty reliever Yoshinori Tateyama, making him a free agent, and activated right-hander Neftali Feliz from the 60-day disabled list.
Feldman, who was the Rangers' Pitcher of the Year in 2009 and their Opening Day starter in '10, went 6-11 with a 5.09 ERA in 21 starts and eight relief appearances this past season. He shuttled in and out of the rotation all season and was being used as a long reliever at the end of the year.Feldman said at the end of the season that he wasn't expecting to be back with the Rangers next year. "I just want to go someplace where I can start regularly," Feldman said. Seven pitchers made at least nine starts for the Rangers in 2012, and three of them are now free agents. Right-handers Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster automatically became free agents after the World Series ended. Colby Lewis made 16 starts for the Rangers but will not be ready for the start of next season while recovering from surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right arm. The Rangers will bring back their top three starters from 2012, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison. They'll also have rookie left-hander Martin Perez and righty Justin Grimm. The club could also move Alexi Ogando back into the rotation. The right-hander won 13 games as a starter in 2011 before being moved back into the bullpen. The Rangers are still likely to be in the market for at least one starting pitcher and have serious interest in right-hander Zack Greinke, considered the top free-agent pitcher on the market. Other starters who could be of interest are Kyle Lohse, Edwin Jackson, Anibal Sanchez, Hiroki Kuroda, Brandon McCarthy and Shaun Marcum. Feldman was a 30th-round pick by the Rangers in 2003 out of San Mateo (Calif.) College who overcame right elbow reconstruction surgery and appeared in 205 games with Texas, the 18th most in club history. His best season was 2009, when he went 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA, but he struggled to overcome knee problems over the next two years. He did make a strong enough comeback to become a valuable reliever for the Rangers during the 2011 playoffs, going 1-0 with a 3.29 ERA in nine appearances. Tateyama was 3-0 with a 5.75 ERA over 53 relief appearances with the Rangers over the past two seasons. He allowed 17 runs in 17 innings during three tours with the club this past season. The Feliz transaction was required because he has to be activated from the 60-day DL. He will go right back on the list when the season starts next year. The Rangers also added pitcher Justin Miller to their 40-man roster. He was the club's Minor League Reliever of the Year in 2011 before missing all of this past season with a partially torn ligament in his right elbow.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.