Tigers reach 2-year deal with Joe Nathan

Hours after the Tigers freed up more money on their payroll and promised they weren’t done dealing, they went about spending some of it on a closer. The reigning American League Central champions have an agreement with Joe Nathan on a reported two-year contract worth $20 million, and will introduce their new closer at a 3:30pm press conference at Comerica Park.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network and CBSSports.com reported a two-year deal in the works Tuesday after FOXSports.com reported the two sides nearing an agreement. The move addresses the top priority Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski took into the offseason, and kept at the top after trading Prince Fielder to Texas two weeks ago and Doug Fister to Washington Monday night.

“We hope to get a closer and we’re still trying to do that,” Dombrowski said Monday night, “so that will be our number one need and it’ll continue to be until we find someone.”

That didn’t take long. The Tigers had their share of candidates on the open market, topped by Nathan and Brian Wilson, but a slow-moving segment of free agency. The market finally came together Tuesday, with Wilson reportedly in talks to re-sign with the Dodgers. The Tigers had been in discussions with Wilson, MLB.com learned, before those talks broke off Monday.

Interest in Nathan included a recruiting pitch from Torii Hunter, his Twins teammate from 2004 to 2007. Hunter, not surprisingly, was ecstatic about the news.

“We needed him,” Hunter wrote Tuesday in a text message to MLB.com. “I had to sell the vision of winning it all to him.”

If a proven closer was the goal, Nathan is the guy. He has saved 340 games over the last 10 years and owns 341 saves over s 13-year Major League career. The vast majority of those saves came with the Minnesota Twins during their reign over the Tigers atop the AL Central.

Nathan has never blown a save against the Tigers, going 36-for-36 in his opportunities while allowing just 33 hits over 62 2/3 innings with 23 walks and 75 strikeouts. For that matter, Nathan has converted 90 percent of his save chances over his career, the highest conversion rate of any Major League pitcher with at least 200 career saves, just ahead of Mariano Rivera.

Just as important, at age 38, his statistics remained strong. He allowed 10 runs on 36 hits over 64 2/3 innings with 22 walks and 73 strikeouts for the Texas Rangers this past season, racking up 43 saves in the process.

Nathan pitched three consecutive days on four different occasions this past season, and pitched four days in a row twice down the stretch. The one restriction the Rangers had on him was that he rarely pitched multiple innings in a game.

51 Comments

Your article looks even better now JB!
One more piece to be pencilled in. A character guy. Not a “character” or a caricature like the other two that were rumoured.
Nathan means business, he is pro, he is determined and he will make opposing offenses discouraged even before he assumes the mound in the 9th.
One more power signing and I might have to make plans for my very first trip to Comerica this year!!!

I never figured Wilson in a Tigers uniform

So the odd thing is that Nathan’s first blown save next season will be his first in a Tigers game. Think that won’t draw some attention when it happens? :-)
Good acquisition. Brian Wilson fit in Detroit like a roach on a dinner table.

Another thing about Joe—this guy can be really stingy. Since he became a reliever has has had only 4 season with a WHIP over 1.00 and all those 4 seasons of + equal about 1.07!!!!!!

with the way the pen is built right now, i’d probably want him to pitch both the 8th and 9th, every other day. Hope there’s 2-3 more bullpen pieces coming!

Rich—You’re a hoot man!

Evan, if Rondo’s arm is sound he becomes a potentially a very solid set-up man.
7th inning is for managers to earn their money.

i agree, and I put the chances of him becoming a good setup man in 2014 somewhere around 45%.

I have been able to make a wide-toothed Tiger smile 3 times now since the season ended.

Wilson signing with LA ( the real one)
Who is out of the roster?

One of Perez, Kelly, Suarez, Worth is redundant

We’ll have to wait for formal announcement. We might find out soon, though, how far the Tigers are willing to go to protect Jordan Lennerton on the 40-man roster.

Made my day, Mr. D. Just found out my new car got totaled. My son is OK and the other driver at fault. See, there are worse things than losing Doug Fister..

sorry to hear that

Ouch. Glad to hear everybody’s OK.

shoot – sorry to hear that

He is Ok, that is what matters

Reblogged this on BriWrites and commented:
Nice! Hope this is true.

This blog sure has been buzzing! I just saw the post about Kinsler wearing #3 – sigh – that makes me sad. Tram has been my man and my favorite Tiger of all time, not ready to see anyone else wearing that jersey.

Nathan is 10th All-Time in career saves, tied with Rollie Fingers with 341. Most among active pitchers. If you look at the top 20 All-Time, the Tigers have had quite a few: Percival, Nathan, Wetteland (Rule 5 pick returned), Francisco Cordero, Jose Mesa, and Jones.
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To put Rivera’s career in perspective, Nathan is 10th, but over 300 saves behind him.
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As Jason points out, Nathan has been a one inning pitcher recently, which begs the question, who gets the 8th? Perhaps someone not currently on the roster?

I would have given the 2013 bullpen with Veras a C. I’d give our current bullpen a D-. Without Nathan it wasn’t even an E – it was an I for incomplete.

sign benoit tomorrow and I’d upgrade the pen to a C-

2 for 20MM….not a bad price…still overpaying….especially since Nathan’s arm speed has been declining….

Ellsbury got a 7 year 153MM deal with the Yankees. Yikes!

If choo wants 20MM a year – then I hope DD hangs up the phone.
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An alternative option could be Alex Chavez perhaps. 1 year, 4.5MM and just play him at 3rd with Cast backing him up. LF should go to the highly anticipated Andy Dirks/Italian Don Kelly platoon – with Cast filling in when Andy gets his hurt per usual.

It’s now three big smiles, one frown, and “these ‘roaches’ are making me thirsty.”

More importantly, great to hear your son’s OK Kathy.

Lennerton gonna get dropped from the 40 man roster? Does Worth have a role? (I say yes as a backup SS potentially).

I guess this makes Machado available for the Rule V draft, which is why I am assuming he was on the 40 man roster to begin with. I am also guessing that another team will need to put him on the 40 man roster to keep him before the Rule V draft.
Castellenos at 3b and Miggy at 1B is good. And I agree with DD that Benoit will get a closers contract from someone. Still think there is another move coming. Choo and McLouth seem to be the range.

It’s funny how we have not heard much talk about the managing change. Leyland did a poor job using Smyly. Nobody wants Porcello so let’s see want he does for us. He is still very young. Yes, I will miss Doug but I will not give up my season tickets. So, do some of you think we have a better team for 2014?

i for one think we have a substantially weaker team currently. Particularly in the pen, and the offense has taken a major hit as well.

Reblogged this on DeeTown Tigers and commented:
After posting the initial reports on the DeeTown Tigers Twitter and Facebook news feeds, the Detroit Tigers made it official Monday – Joe Nathan is a Tiger!

Tiger’s beat writer for MLB.com, Jason Beck has the details about the signing.

~Skip

I did not mention Machado yesterday because he is the better glove of the group but he still needs years of development ( physical development,) before being in the Bigs for a season

At right side there is a post by Jim Callis with the reasons not to sign Choo or Granderson ( I would like any of them with the team but)

No more big FA signings? There are not many trade chips remaining
And they need to add a couple of arms to the bullpen.
Scott Downs? He is expected to make between 1 to 9 MM, Flaherty, Gonzalez? Ayala?

I see no problem with Dirks but the Tigers insisted he was not an everyday player and suddenly he is the regular.

GREAT: DD thinks the pen is falling into place. Holy Cow – does he see the same depth chart I do? The pen is full of AAAA players, Rondon, Nathan and Coke (YIKES) and Al ALBQ (mr. 6 walks per 9).
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GREAT: DD thinks we have just as good a chance this year as last year: even though a) the offense lost Peralta and Princes bats (assuming Kinsler replaces Omar’s contribution and Nick replaces 2E and Pena’s contributions); b) the pen is slightly worse; c) the starting rotation is slightly worse; d) the bench – is somehow – weaker.
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However I am happy there isn’t another big FA signing coming. There are SO MANY FA mistakes waiting to happen (e.g. Choo, Beltran, Cano). Albeit, I hope he doesn’t mean he won’t sign at least 1 more live bullpen arm (e.g. downs, perez, Mujica [sic])

In regards to Nicks offensive contribution, you’ve likely noticed I don’t expect much from him. A comment (by knucklescarbone on Dec 4, 2013 12:12 PM) over at BYBs sums up my thoughts EXACTLY:

“But aside from defensive concerns, one thing that leaves me skeptical about pencilling Nick in at 3B is the offensive side of the equation. Last season in Toledo, over 533 AB’s, Nick posted a BA of .276 with an OPS of .793. Those would not be bad numbers in the majors, and would put him in the middle of the pack among third-basemen (and ahead of Headley, for instance). But I wonder what the odds are that he will replicate those numbers against major league pitching, especially in the near term.
By way of comparison, Scott Sizemore posted, over parts of two seasons in Toledo including 591 AB’s, about a .305 BA with an OPS of .850—better than Nick’s AAA numbers. Like Nick, he was deemed “major league ready.” Since coming to the big leagues, however, his ML BA over parts of three seasons is a whopping .238, with an OPS of .709.”

Castellenos is a much higher regarded prospect than Sizemore. I do agree with you that expecting huge numbers from a 21 year old rookie is not wise. If he has the slash line he had in AAA (playing a new position BTW), I would be happy.

As for the pen, we can’t have 7 closers. Nathan makes us better. Rondon, a half year of MLB experience, should be really good. Look for a Mercedes or Knebel to knock on the door. And the 2 LHP from the Nats could be in the pen.

Hitting, my my how we see the rose color glasses for Peralta. Couple years ago everyone wanted him gone when he was hitting .240. Also, he got 52 MILLION from St. Louis. Not sure that was a wise move. We all know his range is poor.

Prince, yep we will miss him, and moreso, his presence. But VMart should slide seemlessly into the 4 slot.

with a starting lineup like this:
kinsler
hunter
cabby
vmart
jackson
dirks
castenellos
alex
iggy

it’s easy to see the offense won’t be NEARLY as good.

Joe Nathan said he came to Detroit because he wanted to win a World Series? He probably didn’t pick wisely. DD has weakened this team significantly. Iglasias is replacing Peralta…..obviously an upgrade defensively but can’t even come close to producing offensively like him. Castellanos assuming he is replacing Fielder probably won’t have half the rbi’s of Prince. Kinsler had about 20 more Rbi’s than Omar last year but at 12 million more a year. I don’t see where the offense is going to be made? I don’t think Smyly is any Doug Fister. Rotation is weakened. Ya we have a closer but who else? I don’t see it unless it’s a smoke screen about no more moves.

did you notice, Wilson told DD he wasn’t coming to detroit a few hours after DD made the Fister dump.

good, I’d rather have Nathan anyway.

Andy has a a very even mentality and a skill-set. There seems to “something” missing. If he finds it he could be very good.

We have 2 Cy Young winners and a ERA champs in the rotation, a back to back MVP hitting 3rd, VMart protecting him and an all-star closer. Why the doom and gloom?

eh you’re right port. Just seems like we went from WS contenders to AL central contenders. Hopefully the defense and baserunning make a big ole difference and we’re all good.

You are losing a hell of a lot of run producers…..and they aren’t going to be made up with this crew…and your pitching is weakened. ….it’s not like we won the division by 10 games. Verlander in his 8 years has been good but only great 2 he has done nothing to make me think he is the Cy young guy…he’s probably something in between. Miggy will be fine as long as he recovers.but DD is putting an aweful lot of faith in rookies.

The line up will be able to create more runs with better base running with several players that will not be station to station guys. If Dirks stays healthy, I expect him to rebound. I think Porcello wins more than last year and Smyly will be one of the top 5th starters in the league next year. It still comes down to Max, JV and Anibal being consistent.

Jhonny historically has been an every other year performer.

Nick C. Hit better in AA than Manny Machado with Baltimore and he hit over 300 last year. You never know how someone or the team is going to do until they play the game. I have my FL plans to do my spring training evaluation.

This is already a better team and DD is not done yet.

addition by subtraction, eh? i know the team plane will take less fuel to get from city-to-city…

Good signing by the Tigers. This guys wants a WS ring badly, and I think he’s the best FA they could have signed. Another reason to be excited about 2014.

Hope DD finds another setup man. I just hope Rondon doesn’t turn out to be another Zumaya. We need another setup man as we lost 2 (Veras/Benoit) and hopefully the added lefty from the Nats. I wouldn’t count on anything from Coke. I wouldn’t be concerned with the 50 lost homers, but am for the lost RBI. We picked up speed so maybe we score 100 of those runs and and win more close games!

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