Fox Sport's Jon Paul Morosi tweeted the Detroit Tigers and free agent closer Joe Nathan are showing mutual interest in a possible deal. The Tigers are reportedly high on the veteran right-hander's wish list.
Nathan is on record saying he is looking for a two-year deal after two seasons with the Texas Rangers. The 13-year MLB veteran declined the $9 million option year on his Rangers' contact, electing to become a free agent.
Nathan is no spring chicken at 39 years of age, but has not showed signs of slowing down. After eight seasons and 260 saves as the Minnesota Twins' closer, Nathan recorded 80 saves in 86 attempts as a Ranger, posting a 2.09 ERA in 133 appearances and 129 innings pitched.
Despite Nathan's age and the fact he will not come cheaply, this appears to be a perfect fit between pitcher and team. In his series covering possible off-season targets of the Tigers, Rob had this to say about Joe Nathan:
Nathan is the perfect reliever to bridge the gap to Bruce Rondon's reign as Tigers closer -- unless Brad Ausmus goes full saber on us with his bullpen management, that is -- and the Tigers are plenty familiar with him after he spent eight seasons in Minnesota. Is he worth $20 million over two years? If he keeps pitching like he did in Texas, absolutely.
Speculation has swirled since the Tigers' season came to an ignominious end in the ALCS the team would be big time players in the free agent closer market. Last week, reports out of the west coast had the Tigers showing interest in Grant Balfour, who recorded 62 saves over the past two seasons for the Oakland Athletics. As that report has cooled, the Nathan rumor comes to the forefront.
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