Tigers officially end Joe Nathan tenure, add Luis Cessa to roster

The Joe Nathan era with the Tigers officially ended Tuesday, when the team declined the injured closer’s $10 million option for next season and added pitching prospect Luis Cessa to the 40-man roster in his place.

Under terms of Nathan’s contract, the Tigers will pay him $1 million to buy out the option. He immediately becomes a free agent.

The decision was pretty much a formality once Nathan underwent Tommy John surgery in April, ending his 2015 season after one outing, one batter, one strikeout and one save — all on Opening Day against the Twins. Nathan, who turns 41 later this month, spent the rest of the season rehabbing and has said he hopes to pitch again at some point next season, though being ready for Spring Training might be difficult.

The Tigers signed Nathan to a two-year, $20 million as a free agent in December 2013, hoping to lock down ninth-inning save opportunities after watching bullpen struggles help doom them in the 2013 ALCS against Boston. Nathan was coming off a dominant 2013 season in Texas, but never found that form in Detroit, instead encountered some of his toughest times since undergoing his previous Tommy John surgery in 2010.

Nathan saved 35 games in 2014, but suffered seven blown saves and posted a 4.81 ERA along the way. He gave up 60 hits over 58 innings, walked 29 batters nad struck out 54. His 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings marked his lowest rate since he was a starter with the Giants in 2000.

Nathan changed his offseason workouts designed to strengthen his arm and feel younger overall. He felt better, but he still dealt with his share of offensive damage during Grapefruit League. He went into the season as the closer before his elbow betrayed him.

Cessa was part of the return package the Tigers received from the Mets in the Yoenis Cespedes trade July 31. The 23-year-old right-hander was a standout in the Mets system at Double-A Binghamton, going 7-4 with a 2.91 ERA in 13 starts. He struggled at Triple-A, both at Las Vegas before the trade and Toledo afterwards, but still racked up 58 strikeouts over 62 innings between the two stops. He ranks sixth on MLB.com’s Tigers prospect list.

Detroit needed to add Cessa to the 40-man roster at some point this month to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft in December week, or he would’ve become a minor-league free agent. He began his pro career as an infielder in the Mets system in 2009 before becoming a pitcher two years later.

16 Comments

11 MM for four pitches. 2.75 MM p/pitch ( not including warming up once)

” Clark, It’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.”

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Just my opinion but this first move looks to be a smart one. Now how about those free agents? Did I see there were 130?

with addition of Cessa and subtraction of free agents, Tigers’ roster is at 35, 20 pitchers, 15 hitters. they might subtract a couple more pitchers (Feliz, Alburquerque) if the cost for these arbitration-eligibles is too high.

by consensus, the White Sox were one of the ‘winners’ last offseason. Padres too. it seems that ‘winning’ the offseason doesn’t matter much.

I was amazed seeing the photos from the Royals parade, what a crowd! How fun for that city.

I watched for awhile and then got tears in my eyes. Don’t ask me why, because I really don’t know. I had to turn to a different channel.

Yes, Woody, the WSox and SD made big splashes which did not pay off during the season. It is amazing when so many players have “off” years all at once. There are times when the Tigers’ players seem to catch the “no-clutch-hitting” virus all at the same time.

That KC team is the best in baseball. The best team won as it should be. I can’t think of a good reason not to appreciate how good they are. Jealously is about the only one that comes to mind, and that ain’t a good one. Lucky……..that’s one of the riders that go along with the good teams. It seems like luck but it really isn’t. Even when their present crop of home grown players are gone through FA KC is not going away. Ownership and organizational scouting are at the top. I rooted hard for the Mets. In the end, other than SP they were no match. They peaked in the playoffs and then displayed their weaknesses (reality) in the WS. I really admire how the KC team is built. Defense, pitching, speed(including true base running skills) and clutch hitting…..in that order. It’s always about defense and pitching. Tigers need to do their best to acquire all the quality pitching they can, given budget constraints. Acquiring position players any less skilled than Ben Zobrist would be inconsequential I think. There are options within. Did I mention Zobrist? That guy would look good in the Old English D. An obvious winner.

A high school coach once told my teammates and me that “luck is the intersection of skill and opportunity”. I’ve always thought that was a wise statement – so much so that it impressed a bunch of smart mouthed teenagers. It’s really a variation on “You make your own luck”. Good teams seem to catch more than their share of the breaks because they are ready and able to take advantage of them when those breaks come along. Here’s hoping that our Tigers reboot themselves into a good team in 2016 and beyond.

that is a good quote – might have to steal it!

I have an old recording of Ty Cobb explaining how “you make your breaks.” He was pretty good at it.

Olney:
Sources: Early indications from the Tigers in the market are that they are targeting good second-tier free agents.
……
Good hitting is contagious, bad hitting too

Soooo we have LH hitting OFers Alex Gordon and David Murphy, and RH hitting OFer Ryan Raburn. Don’t laugh off Raburn; he’s cheap and kills the White Sox and probably now Cleveland.

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