Joe Nathan Signs with the Rangers

21 Nov

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Reports out of Texas are saying that Joe Nathan has signed on with the Texas Rangers. The deal is said to be for two years at $7 million with an option for a third year. The Rangers are also said to be moving Neftali Feliz from his closer’s role to the starting rotation.

After missing the entire 2010 season with Tommy John surgery, Nathan came back and reclaimed his closer’s role in April. It didn’t take too long for him to give it back to Matt Capps. After a DL stint, Nathan returned and pitched quite well, especially late in the season.

In the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook, we predicted two years and $14 million for Nathan… Not too shabby.

Nathan joined the Twins at about this time in 2003. The Twins sent AJ Pierzynski to the Giants in exchange for Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser. He had one career save before coming to the Twins, and eight years and 260 saves later, he is the Twins all-time Saves leader, having surpassed Rick Aguilera just this past season.

I know there are people who can’t get past the Mark Teixeira homer in the playoffs… or a couple of other playoff blunders. I think it’s important to remember that from 2004 through 2009, Joe Nathan was, at worst, the second-best closer in all of baseball. In those six seasons, he posted an ERA higher than 2.10 just one time (2.96). He never posted a WHIP of greater than 1.06. He didn’t give up many hits. He didn’t walk many, and he averaged 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings.

As Twins President Dave St. Peter tweeted, “Joe and Lisa Nathan = Class Acts. Many contributions on the field and in the community. THX for 8 great years with Twins. Best of luck in Texas.”

Joe Nathan is one of the best Twins players in their history, and he has represented the organization and the community very well. At the same time, Nathan turns 37 on Tuesday, so as much as he appeared to return to form late last year, it’s hard to know what he will do over the next two seasons. So it’s easy to understand why the Twins would have been hesitant to sign him to this reasonable contract. Nathan said that “winning” was going to be a huge factor in where he would sign. I’d say he stayed true to that by signing with the Rangers.

 Feel free to comment.

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9 Responses to “Joe Nathan Signs with the Rangers”

  1. mike wants wins November 21, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    I’m sad. The guy and his wife always seemed very involved in the community, and he was really what you’d want a professional athlete to be. He’ll be missed by many.

  2. Chuck November 21, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    Living here in Fort Myers and a Twins spring training season ticket holder, Joe Nathan was one of the most friendly players I have ever met. I would rank him as one of the top autographer signers in a Twins uniform. He was one of the few Twins players that would stop after a game in his car leaving the players’ parking area or leaving from the training room to sign autographs. Wish more Twins players were as fan friendly as he is. Best of luck, Joe. You are a great guy and a true autographer’s friend. I will miss you.

  3. Greg November 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    Leaves great memories in Twins fans eyes. Good luck in Texas… mr. ryan, probably needs to shift to bullpen now before OF and startin g pticheing…Lots of good relievers out there..

    Win Twins!

  4. Pat McGauley November 22, 2011 at 8:13 am #

    Joe was among the most approachable Twins ever! From spring camp through the season, he would sign autographs for everyone . . . everyone, all the time. One of the truly good guys in the game. Good luck in Texas.

  5. mini_tb November 22, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    No matter how good of a player and guy Nathan is, I’m happy with letting the 37 year old reliever who has not yet shown he is fully recovered from Tommy John surgery walk for that kind of money.

    That being said, good luck Joe! You are a class act.

  6. scot November 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    For $11M a year I could afford to be a class act also, especially when I had to only pitch 70-80 innings per season. So many athletes act like jerks so when one acts like they should all be acting all along he gets praised as such a great guy! whatever.

    • mike wants wins November 22, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

      Wow, just, wow.

  7. andrew gordinier November 25, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    I’m sad to see nathan go. He was a class guy, a great closer, and everything the twins are about. while it will be hard to fill his spot as closer, the void on the team will be bigger.

  8. Ross November 27, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    Sad to see Nathan go for all the previously stated reasons – but it makes sense considering his age, the need for the club to spend money elsewhere and the fact that most competent pitchers can convert close to the same percentage of saves as an elite pitcher like Nathan given the typical game situations in which closers are used.

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