Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports

December 4, 2013

Reports: Tigers close to signing Texas reliever Joe Nathan

From staff reports

DETROIT — Finding a closer was a top concern for the Detroit Tigers this off-season.

The Tigers apparently addressed that issue Tuesday when it was reported that right-hander Joe Nathan is nearing an agreement with the club on a two-year deal estimated in the $20 million range. Nathan, who will be 39 this season, saved 43 games for Texas in 2013.

The deal was reported by several outlets although the Tigers did not confirm it Tuesday.

Detroit knows all about Nathan, who previously pitched for the Minnesota Twins. He’s a perfect 36-for-36 in his save chances against them.

Nathan would replace Joaquin Benoit as the team’s closer. Benoit saved 24 games last season but is a free agent. Nathan is tied with Rollie Fingers for tenth on baseball’s career list with 341 saves. Nathan went 6-2 with a 1.39 ERA last season, in which he was named to the American League All Star team.

The Tigers were talking with free agent closer Brian Wilson, but those talks reportedly broke off Monday.

Meanwhile, the New York Daily News is reporting the Tigers are now turning their attention toward left-handed hitting outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. The 31-year-old batted .285 last season with the Cincinnati Reds, hitting 21 home runs, driving in 54 runs and scoring 107 runs.

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