MLB: Tigers Sign CP Joe Nathan to 2-Year, $20 M Contract

The Detroit Tigers signed 39-year-old closer Joe Nathan to a two-year, $20 million contract on Wednesday.

Dec 4 2013, 10:19pm CST | by

MLB: Tigers Sign CP Joe Nathan to 2-Year, $20 M Contract
Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers signed veteran closer Joe Nathan on Wednesday. 

According to Jason Beck of the Tigers' official website, Nathan was signed to a two-year, $20 million deal, which includes a club option for a third season.

Nathan, who had long been a thorn on the side of the Tigers when he played for the Minnesota Twins, is seen as the closer Detroit has been looking for during the offseason as the return of Jose Valverde didn't work out and Joaquin Benoit wasn't seen as the long-term solution. 

Tigers general Dave Dombrowski couldn't be more thrilled with the team's latest acquisition.

"Should be good for 100-plus saves the next couple years.

"We've tried to address our closing situation this wintertime. We think that we've come up with one of the best in the game. We've seen him work throughout the years, and he really sets our bullpen situation up very well."

Nathan made it no secret to the Detroit Free Press' John Lowe it's the Tigers -- perennial World Series contenders -- whom he wanted to pitch for in 2014 and beyond.

"From the moment (I) became a free agent, this was the No. 1 club we had our eyes set on. It's a dream come true. Everybody has one goal in mind, and that's just not to win, but to win a championship.

"Why would I come here? The question is,'Why wouldn't I?' This team is ready to win, they're ready to win now. (And) not just win -- it's not just about getting to the postseason. For me, it's about getting to the World Series.

"That hasn't been part of my career. It has eluded me. I'm excited to rejoin with guys like Torii Hunter (his teammate in Minnesota) and Ian Kinsler (his teammate with the Texas Rangers).

"I'm also getting a chance to watch Miguel Cabrera play on a daily basis, which is going to be something special for me..." 

Even at the age of 39, Nathan is showing everybody around the league why his arm is something to be reckoned with.

He recorded 43 saves in 2013, bringing his total to 80 in his two seasons in Texas.  With Mariano Rivera's retirement, Nathan now leads all active MLB closers with a total of 341 saves. 

Last season, he also posted a second-career-best 1.39 ERA.

The Nathan signing is just the latest activity in what has been a busy offseason for Detroit. First, the team hired former catcher Brad Ausmus to replace the departed Jim Leyland as manager. 

The Tigers then traded first baseman Prince Fielder on Nov. 21 to the Rangers for second baseman Kinsler, who, as previously mentioned, will be reunited with Nathan in Detroit.

Just a day ago, the Tigers traded right-handed pitcher Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals for infielder Steve Lombardozzi and two lefties in Ian Krol and Robbie Ray.  

As if these weren't enough, Detroit also announced the move of Cabrera to first base while Nick Castellanos takes over as the starter at third. Dombrowski made the moves official, per Tom Gage of the Detroit News

"We've discussed going to first with Miguel, so we're making it official. He's happy to do it.

"Castellanos will make that transition for us (from left back to third). He's a natural infielder and is eager to get back there. We think he's ready to step in and play at the big-league level."



Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.


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