Sep 27, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers relief pitcher Joe Nathan (36) delivers to the Los Angeles Angels during the ninth inning of a baseball game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers continue making waves this offseason. Last night it was with the trade of Doug Fister, and today it’s with the signing of free agent closer Joe Nathan. According to Jon Heyman, the contract is for two years.
No word yet on the dollar amount (perhaps it will come in as I type this), but we’re probably looking at something in the $13 million per year range. I’d start to get uncomfortable if the AAV exceeds $14 million.
Nathan and the Tigers “expressed mutual interest in each other” nearly a month ago, so it’s no surprise that the team without a closer and the closer without a team found a way to get a deal worked out.
The contract will take Nathan up through his age 40 season, but at two years, it’s not a shocking length for a pitcher who has remained effective. In his last two seasons (with the Texas Rangers), Nathan combined 129 innings and a 2.09 ERA. He perhaps wasn’t that good, but respective FIP of 2.78 and 2.26 suggest his actual pitching was represented fairly well by his ERA. He’s not Koji Uehara in the playoffs good, but he’s been about as reliable as a closer can be for his entire career.
We’ll try to keep you updated as the final dollar figures are released.
The Tigers are probably still in the market for at least one more reliever since Drew Smyly will be moving to the starting rotation.