After seven years in the American League Central division Joe Nathan is headed out West to join the vaunted Texas Rangers bullpen. Arguably one of the best closers in the game from 2004 to 2009, Nathan had a 1.87 ERA and 246 saves in 418.2 innings during that stretch before needing Tommy John surgery in 2010.
Nathan signed a two-year, $14.5 million deal with the Rangers, making a good bullpen even better. He’ll join Arthur Rhodes, Darren Oliver, and Mark Lowe as bridge men to closer Neftali Feliz. But this is a blog covering a team in the AL Central, so what does this mean for the Sox and the Twins?
Well, it doesn’t mean much for the Sox. We’re all glad to see Joe Nathan gone because he was the one big threat to the Sox. Most of the other relievers we could handle but when Nathan came into the game we all knew it was done. He had times of vulnerability but they were few and far between.
This doesn’t really mean anything for the Twins either. Matt Capps is the closer there now and after Nathan underwent surgery in 2010 it looked most thought he wouldn’t even come back. He’s still a good pitcher but his time in Minnesota has expired and they’ve moved on. Though he did save 14 games for Minnesota last year Nathan is a much better fit in the Texas set-up corps at this point in his career.
With Chris Sale moving to the rotation the Sox have some bullpen problems of their own to address. With Matt Thornton’s struggles last year Jesse Crain is now the only reliable arm in the ‘pen. Next year is a new year, though, and a chance for guys to redeem themselves.
Pitchers and catchers report in 88 days.