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Tigers close to signing Joe Nathan

Dec 3, 2013, 11:20 AM EDT

Joe Nathan Getty Getty Images

Now we know where that money the Tigers just saved is going: Ken Rosenthal of reports that Detroit is close to signing Joe Nathan.

That would be a huge step to addressing the Tigers’ bullpen issues, as Nathan is coming off a season in which he saved 43 games with a 1.39 ERA and 73/22 K/BB ratio in 65 innings for the Rangers. Overall in two seasons with Texas he posted a 2.09 ERA and Nathan previously had a 2.16 ERA during seven years in Minnesota.

Last month Nathan declined his $9 million player option with the Rangers to hit the open market in search of a two- or three-year deal. Certainly any 39-year-old pitcher is a risk on what will presumably be a multi-year contract, but Nathan has shown absolutely zero signs of slowing down and has been one of the elite closers in baseball for a decade now.

  1. darthicarus - Dec 3, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    I would have rather seen them save $4-5m per year & signed Brian Wilson if this ends up being true. (assuming Nathan gets greater than $10m/season)

    • historiophiliac - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      You are making all kinds of assumptions there — and not just on what Nathan is going to get. You can’t even judge this at this point — except to say: “Hot damn, we aren’t going to sweat through Benoit again.”

      • yahmule - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:44 PM

        Apparently some posters here have access to contract details that haven’t been disclosed anywhere else.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:44 PM

        Voices in your head don’t count.

    • bfunk1978 - Dec 3, 2013 at 1:50 PM

      The way Brian Wilson pitched for the Dodgers at the end of the year, he’s going to get some pretty big money.

  2. spudchukar - Dec 3, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    Historio, are you smoking a cig now?

    • historiophiliac - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      I love it when a plan comes together.

  3. yahmule - Dec 3, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Best signing of the winter, IMO.

  4. proudlycanadian - Dec 3, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    That bullpen still needs more decent arms.

    • historiophiliac - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      Agreed. No more infielders!

  5. uyf1950 - Dec 3, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    It certainly solves a problem the Tigers had last season. I just wonder though if even with this anticipated signing if the Tigers haven;t taken a step back with the trade of Fielder and Fister.

  6. georgewashingtonsghost - Dec 3, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    I’m with Darth on this one. I hate the move. Overpaying for a “proven closer” is a waste of resources. I would have much rather see them sign some cheaper arms and keep the draft pick.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      I don’t believe Nathan made a QO. So the Tigers won’t be losing a pick.

      • georgewashingtonsghost - Dec 3, 2013 at 1:48 PM

        I just looked it up and you are correct, uyf1950. Thanks. Not losing the draft picks makes this much better in my opinion.

  7. xjokerz - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    waste of money

    id rather have wilson, younger, cheaper.. Wilson’s going to ask for 10-13 million a year

    for a 39 year old?




    • 2dmo4 - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:43 PM

      Wish you actually knew what you were talking about.

      • xjokerz - Dec 3, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        wish you did too, are you telling me a 39 joe Nathan for over 10million PER is better than a brian wilson / Benoit resigning?


    • historiophiliac - Dec 3, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      ESPN says Wilson broke off negotiations with the Tigers. He may have been using us to work a deal with the Dodgers. Or, DD might have used him. Who knows at this point. It looks like they didn’t have the Wilson option sewn up though, so you are assuming things you ought not.

  8. xjokerz - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Nathan will ask for 10-13million / yr **

  9. eatitfanboy - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    When are people going to learn? A 3 year contract for a 39 year old closer? Big money for any closer at all? Closer is the most over rated position in baseball. Every year some guy pops up you’ve never heard of and saves 40 games. Advanced stats people will tell you in a second that closer is one of the most interchangeable positions on the roster. $10 million a year (I’m assuming it’s at least that much since he turned down $9m, but even if he is taking a little less to get more years the point is the same) is a huge waste of resources. As Darthicarus said, you could have had 90% of the production for half the money with Wilson, who is 8 years younger.

    • xjokerz - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      Agreed, Dombrowski is losing his mind and the AL is reaping all of the benefit

    • uyf1950 - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      Reports are that it’s a 2 year deal. Dollars have not been released yet.

      • eatitfanboy - Dec 3, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        Yeah, I did alot of speculating there, I realize. Doesn’t change my point. I am of the Tampa Bay Rays school of thought on paying relief pitchers in general: Don’t.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 3, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        What? Fernando Rodney?

      • eatitfanboy - Dec 3, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        Fernando Rodney made $1.75 last year. Now he wants more and will therefore be pitching elsewhere next season. Thank you for making my point for me.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 3, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        Your point was that they don’t hire specialized pitching and they do. Also, you claimed that the Rays develop their own relievers and trade them away when they are FA’s. Rodney started w/ the Tigers, FYI, and the Rays picked him up later. They did not develop him. They brought him in and he was a closer for them (not a starter) the whole time. They may be cheap about it, but they most certainly do use a closer.

  10. phillysports1 - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Agree with you ^

  11. yahmule - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    Age is the only possible reason to consider Brain Wilson less risky than Joe Nathan and I think it’s a negligible point on a three year deal.

    • eatitfanboy - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      So if the risk is the same, why not take the guy you can have for half price?

      • yahmule - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:42 PM

        I think Nathan is a better pitcher. Do we know that the difference is going to be half?

      • eatitfanboy - Dec 3, 2013 at 1:11 PM

        It may not be. I actually wouldn’t sign either one of them. When it comes to paying relief pitchers, I am of the Tampa Bay Rays school of thought: DON’T. Develop you’re own, let them walk or trade them when they get to free agency, rinse, repeat.

  12. DonKellyBaby - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    This will be an overrated signing.

    • historiophiliac - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:48 PM

      And Don Kelly knows overrated signings.

      • DonKellyBaby - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:36 PM

        You’ll miss me when Im gone. Hate all you want right now, but I’m a clutch player.

  13. markofapro - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    I dunno know what y’all Tiger fans are bitching at this morning. Your bullpen sucked the last couple of years and you’re getting one of the best closers in the game. Nathan is a competitor and a good teammate. Of course he will come at a cost, but he’s worth it. Would you rather be the Twins and sign some below average starting pitchers and still have no chance of winning the division?

    This is a good move by the Tigers. His arm is strong and his age is likely a non factor.

    • historiophiliac - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:53 PM

      It’s funny that you assume they are Tigers “fans.” Similarly, I am a fan of the Braves and, especially, Larry Jones.

  14. papacrick - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    A 31 year old Wilson is higher injury risk than a 39 year old Nathan. Do you even watch baseball? Wilson has two bum shoulders and missed a season while Nathan has been unstoppable and has shown no signs of slowing down. Not to mention the doushe factor in which Wilson holds the crown

    • xjokerz - Dec 3, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      facts show that pitchers coming off of Tommy John actually come back better.

      sorry if you dont watch baseball.

      • eightyraw - Dec 3, 2013 at 1:40 PM

        If you’re only counting those that have successful comebacks and talking about the mean then MAYBE that’s true. Also, the outlook after a second TJ surgery is far more bleak.

  15. sparty0n - Dec 3, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    Report: Tigers agree to sign free agent closer Joe Nathan to two-year deal

    Sounds like its a done deal.

    • xjokerz - Dec 3, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      yup, heard this on 97.1

  16. Minoring In Baseball - Dec 3, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Good deal for the Tigers if the deal goes through. He’s the best option in my opinion at this point. Tigers now just need that hefty left handed bat for left field.

    • historiophiliac - Dec 3, 2013 at 1:51 PM

      Why are you worried about left field? I still want to see them get some good relievers. We need real bp depth.

      • Minoring In Baseball - Dec 3, 2013 at 1:54 PM

        I’d love to see some better arms in the bullpen, too, but at this point they don’t have an everyday left fielder, and no one close to replacing Princes’ bat. Dirks proved he just not an everyday guy.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 3, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        I’m less worried about Dirks/Tui in LF than I am about Phil Choke and upgrading from Downs and Veras. I’m not fully confident in the kids we just picked up. I’d like them to add some strong experience to the pen too.

      • yahmule - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:13 PM

        Well, that’s not a very nice nickname, is it?

  17. timberwolvesbrisin - Dec 3, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    Be blows big games. Ever since his twins days, he’s been a huge choker.

    • yahmule - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      The Twins are in big games?

      • historiophiliac - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:23 PM


  18. papacrick - Dec 3, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Tui already signed elsewhere and LF has been a gaping hole since Dumbo arrived here a decade ago. Craig Monroe is probably the best we’ve trotted out there with Jacque Jones being the other end of that spectrum. We could desperately use a short/long term solution there but it definitely isn’t Dirks. He was good when he played winter ball but apparently got lazy when he had a guaranteed roster spot. He came out of winter ball in 12′ as the WS MVP and proceeded to hit .400 in ST and made the team seemingly out of nowhere. He carried that momentum into what was a solid rookie season and I can’t help but to wonder how much better he would’ve been this year if he went through the same routine

    • historiophiliac - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      I still say it wasn’t LF that cost us the WS.

  19. grumpyoleman - Dec 3, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Tui not an option, didn’t he sign with someone else already?

    • historiophiliac - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      Shoot, you’re right. I forgot. 😦

      • dluxxx - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:33 PM

        Maybe the Rays are willing to let Delmon come back??? 😉

      • historiophiliac - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:18 PM

        Ouch. Is that for laughing at the Twins joke?

      • dluxxx - Dec 4, 2013 at 10:46 AM


  20. creator69 - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    It’s a 2 yr deal in the $20 million dollar range this is according to ken rosenthal

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