Former Twins closer Joe Nathan has signed a two-year deal $14.5 million with a team option for a third year ($500K buyout) with the Texas Rangers. The 37-year-old Houston born Nathan gets what he seemed to want the most, to pitch for a team with a chance to win it all. There are reports flying around that the Twins offered Joe “similar money” but with the Twins coming off a 99 loss season they apparently did not convince Joe that they can compete in 2012.
Nathan has pitched for the Twins since he was traded to Minnesota by the San Francisco Giants in November of 2003 along with pitchers Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser for catcher AJ Pierzynski. Nathan has logged a team record 260 saves in 7 seasons in spite of sitting out the entire 2010 season recovering from TJ surgery. Joe had some tough appearances early in 2011 but got stronger as the season progressed.
I would have had no problem with the Twins paying Nathan $7 million on a one year deal but after that I get nervous. I will miss Nathan taking the mound for the Twins in the 9th inning but all good things must come to an end. Historically the Twins have “made their own” closers so I would be surprised if they actually spent free agent money to get one. I wish nothing but the best for Joe Nathan but I think that Joe will find it a bit different pitching in Ranger Ballpark versus pitching in Target Field.