Jun 4, 2014, 12:48 PM EST
Joe Nathan has been one of the best closers in baseball for a decade, saving 354 games with a 2.85 ERA, but at age 39 he’s finally showing signs of decline in his first season with the Tigers.
Nathan saved 43 games with a 1.39 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 65 innings for the Rangers last season, which convinced the Tigers to give him a two-year, $20 million contract as a free agent, but now he’s got a 6.86 ERA with four blown saves and two losses.
Nathan continues to miss a fair number of bats with 20 strikeouts in 21 innings, but he’s walked 11 batters and served up four homers. And perhaps most worrisome is that his average fastball velocity is down to 91.4 miles per hour compared to 94.0 mph in 2012 and 92.2 mph last season.
Predictably, the struggling closer told Jason Beck of MLB.com that he’s confident about turning things around:
This isn’t the first time I’ve gone through a funk and come out the other end. I’ve dealt with two injuries. I’ve pitched much worse than this, trust me. I’ve pitched much worse than this in Triple-A, got sent down to Double-A, got my butt back to the big leagues. I think having dealt with that, having–not the confidence, but at least the experience of knowing I can come back through this stuff definitely helps.
He’s right about coming back from a lot in his career, including Tommy John surgery in 2010 at age 35, but unfortunately Father Time remains undefeated and Nathan’s struggles appear to be more than simply bad luck or a rough patch. As a Twins fan who got to see Nathan dominate for a half-dozen years I’d love to be wrong, though.
Nov 20, 2014, 9:25 PM EST
The Padres and Royals made a trade ahead of the 40-man roster deadline.
Nov 20, 2014, 8:35 PM EST
The Rays are expected to eschew Jose Molina from their 40-man roster ahead of the midnight deadline.
Nov 20, 2014, 7:45 PM EST
Jose Canseco made up the whole thing about his reattached finger falling off and wanting to sell it on the Internet.
Nov 20, 2014, 6:55 PM EST
The White Sox are apparently one of three teams showing interest in free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera.
Nov 20, 2014, 6:05 PM EST
The Pirates picked up Pedro Florimon off waivers from the Nationals on Thursday evening.
Nov 20, 2014, 5:17 PM EST
Wheeler made his big-league debut this season when injuries wrecked the Yankees’ roster.
Nov 20, 2014, 4:46 PM EST
As recently as mid-September manager Walt Weiss was talking Nicasio up as a reliever for 2015.
Nov 20, 2014, 4:30 PM EST
Could a team that is unloading salary go nine-figures on an outfielder?
Nov 20, 2014, 3:45 PM EST
Belisario served as the White Sox’s closer for part of this season.
Nov 20, 2014, 3:15 PM EST
Zeid underwent season-ending foot surgery in July.
Nov 20, 2014, 3:01 PM EST
And it’s not at all clear when or if those experiments will translate into rules changes.
Nov 20, 2014, 2:05 PM EST
Don’t bother unpacking.
Nov 20, 2014, 1:06 PM EST
With the Tigers out, the Jays are in.
Nov 20, 2014, 12:50 PM EST
Presumed front-runners may have changed their minds.
Nov 20, 2014, 12:14 PM EST
Zimmermann has just one season remaining until he’s eligible for free agency and the 28-year-old right-hander is in line for a massive payday.
Nov 20, 2014, 11:34 AM EST
The Cuban outfielder is letting his market develop, it seems.
Nov 20, 2014, 10:45 AM EST
For now at least there doesn’t seem to be a clear front-runner.
Nov 20, 2014, 10:23 AM EST
What’s not to like?
Nov 20, 2014, 9:24 AM EST
The new commish takes over on January 25.
Nov 20, 2014, 8:54 AM EST
He was a nice pickup for the O’s last season. But do you give Delmon Young a multi-year deal?
- Report: Red Sox offer Jon Lester six years, $110-120 million 66
- Report: “There is a 90 percent chance that Pablo Sandoval will sign with the Red Sox” 121
- A’s sign Billy Butler to three-year, $30 million contract 80
- Cardinals reportedly joining pursuit of Jon Lester 65
- Giancarlo Stanton’s contract is backloaded. REALLY backloaded. 148
- Braves and Cardinals swap Jason Heyward and Shelby Miller in blockbuster deal 156
- Blue Jays sign Russell Martin to five-year, $82 million deal 135
- Done Deal: Giancarlo Stanton and the Marlins agree on the biggest contract in baseball history 124
- Biggest deal in baseball history: Giancarlo Stanton close to 13-year, $325 million contract with Marlins (182)
- Braves and Cardinals swap Jason Heyward and Shelby Miller in blockbuster deal (156)
- Giancarlo Stanton’s contract is backloaded. REALLY backloaded. (148)
- Blue Jays sign Russell Martin to five-year, $82 million deal (135)
- Done Deal: Giancarlo Stanton and the Marlins agree on the biggest contract in baseball history (124)