Tigers finalize deal with Nathan

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Updated: December 4, 2013

Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) – The Detroit Tigers formally announced the
signing of Joe Nathan Wednesday, with the All-Star closer agreeing to a two-
year contract that includes a club option for the 2016 season.

Financial terms were not disclosed, though FoxSports.com reported Tuesday that
the deal had a total value in the range of $20 million.

Nathan saved 43 games this past season for the Texas Rangers while going 6-2
with a 1.39 ERA. After spending seven seasons in Minnesota, the 39-year-old
signed with the Rangers in 2011 after missing all of the previous seasons
recovering from Tommy John surgery.

In two seasons with Texas, he posted a 2.09 ERA after pitching to a 2.16 ERA
in his time with the Twins.

“We are pleased to be adding a premier closer to our ballclub,” said Tigers
president and general manager David Dombrowski. “Joe solidifies the back end
of our bullpen and fills what we identified as a big need on our pitching
staff.”

Signing a closer and revamping the bullpen was a top priority for the Tigers
heading into the offseason.

Last year’s closer, Joaquin Benoit, is a free agent and the team did not
exercise its club option to bring back Jose Veras, while lefty Drew Smyly is
likely slated for the starting rotation after the deal that sent Doug Fister
to the Washington Nationals for three players Monday night.

Nathan ranks 10th all-time with 341 saves, the most among active pitchers
following Mariano Rivera’s retirement. He began his career as a starter with
San Francisco in 1999 and spent four seasons with the Giants before heading to
Minnesota in a trade prior to the 2004 campaign.

Texas actually exercised the club portion of Nathan’s 2014 contract option,
but the veteran right-hander voided the player portion of the $9 million
deal to test the free agent market.

To create a spot for Nathan on the 40-man roster, the Tigers designated
infielder Dixon Machado for assignment.