Joe Nathan: No Longer a Detroit Tiger


Tigers fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Joe Nathan is gone (at least from Detroit). It should come as no surprise that the Detroit Tigers released him from the club option of $10 million. He will be receiving $1 million as a buyout in his contract; and in the eyes of the fans, that is money well spent. 

Nathan spent all of 2015 on the disabled list when he re-injured his elbow after the first game while he was rehabing in Toledo. He faced one batter prior to that injury: Torii Hunter. Nathan did strike him out; but, it was on a bad call from the umpire. The game ended and he never again made it to the mound in 2015. Even though this created a problem all season for the Tigers, fans were not upset that Nathan was gone. 

Aug 9, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Nathan (36) is relieved in the ninth inning by Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus (7) in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to his time in Detroit, Nathan was known as a Tiger killer from knocking them out in the final innings when he pitched for Minnesota and Texas. The Tigers were expecting the same performance from him when he was signed to a two-year contract worth $20 million. He did not deliver. In 2014, he had his worst season ever with a 4.81 ERA and 7 blown saves. Sadly, he continued to kill the Tigers, even when he was pitching for them.

Tigers fans are a loyal group, but Joe Nathan managed to isolate himself from the fan base at the beginning of his first season. Even though Tigers fans are loyal, they can be rough on the players who are not performing the way they should. After a particularly poor outing in early 2014, the fans did boo Nathan. Unfortunately, he responded with an insulting flick of the chin. In another disappointing outing, he responded to the fans disapproval by given the fans a flipped middle finger. A few games later, he blamed other players for his blown saves. His poor performance continued into the 2015 pre-season, too.

Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers /

Detroit Tigers

The fans are glad to see him move out of Detroit. He plans to continue pitching in 2015 and is available to other teams as a free agent. Hopefully, if he does get resigned, it will be for a National League team. Although it might be fun to boo him again.