The Detroit Tigers and Joe Nathan have agreed to terms on a two-year contract, according to reports. The deal is expected to be around $20 million.
The Tigers have finally gotten their closer in Nathan. After Jose Valverde did not succeed in his job as closer, they handed the job to Joaquain Benoit. He did well, getting 24 saves in 26 save opportunities. Benoit was expected to leave Detroit through free agency, which is what happened this winter. Although he has not signed elsewhere, I cannot see him returning to the Tigers, especially after their signing of Nathan.
Nathan, 39, has been one of the best closers in baseball since 2004. Since that time, he has saved 91% of his opportunities, going 340-of-374 in that time. He is such a lights-out closer and is able to get the job done often. In 2013, Nathan converted 43 of his 46 save opportunities, while going 6-2 with a 1.39 ERA. His consistency definitely makes me think that Nathan will be able to continue his success through his 40-year-old season, which the Tigers signed him through.
The Tigers make this move just one day after dealing Doug Fister to the Nationals. I do not know weather that move was a predecessor to this one, but this one makes a ton of sense for the Tigers. Nathan should help solidify a Tigers bullpen that was the 24th worst in the Majors in terms of ERA, with a 4.01 mark.