Found November 22, 2011 on Fox Sports North:
91757046
MINNEAPOLIS Now that Joe Nathan has officially signed with the Texas Rangers, the search for a new closer is under way for the Minnesota Twins. "We're going to look at the market and look at the possibility of trades any avenue, actually," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said Tuesday. "But there's plenty of people out there in that market this year. It's unusual that there are so many closers out there."Nathan, 37, signed a two-year deal to close for the American League-champion Rangers. He was a free agent this season, and had options from multiple teams. Ryan said the Twins had an offer on the table for Nathan after initially declining his 12.5 million club option. But Nathan chose to instead head to Texas, leaving behind a team with which he set the franchise record for most career saves."I was a little surprised. I don't think there's any question," Ryan said. "I don't think this was a money-oriented decision. I think this was a situation where Joe felt good about the Rangers and of course what they've accomplished the last couple years going to the World Series. I believe that probably was the breaker in his deciding to go to Texas."Nathan had Tommy John surgery in the spring of 2010 and missed the entire season. He returned to the Twins in 2011 but dealt with arm issues early in the year. After a disappointing start, however, Nathan finished the year strong, proving to Minnesota and other teams that he was back to form."He was healthy enough. There's no doubt about that," Ryan said. "He got out there and took the ball. His stuff was pretty close (to where it was before surgery). I don't doubt that health-wise; that's not an issue here. He did the job when we put him out there and he had a pretty good second half for us this year."Now, Minnesota must figure out who will close games in the ninth inning and replace Nathan. One name that has been mentioned is left-hander Glen Perkins, who had a breakout year with the Twins in 2011. The 28-year-old Perkins posted a 2.48 ERA while striking out 65 batters in 61 23 innings pitched en route to being named both the Twins' Most Improved Player and Pitcher of the Year.But Perkins, a former starter, was used in a setup role in 2011. He saved two games for the Twins, but otherwise has limited exposure in ninth-inning situations.Ryan said he doesn't see Perkins as Minnesota's next closer."He doesn't have any experience in that role," Ryan said. "I think you're wise to ultimately see if you can find a guy with experience."One option that does have closing experience is Matt Capps, who closed games for the Twins in 2010 and part of 2011. Minnesota acquired Capps in a trade with Washington during the 2010 season and had 16 saves in 27 appearances with the Twins that year.The results were much different for Capps in 2011. Nathan opened the year as the team's closer but took himself out of that role after early-season struggles. Minnesota inserted Capps back into the closer's role, but Capps blew nine saves and was booed off the field by Twins fans on more than one occasion.Like Nathan, Capps is also a free agent, but Ryan said the Twins would be interested in bringing him back as the closer."Yeah, he'd be an option," Ryan said. "We know he had a difficult year last year, but he certainly was good two years ago."Regardless of who ends up closing games for the Twins in 2012, Ryan knows the team will miss Nathan in late-game situations. Nathan initially came to Minnesota from San Francisco as part of a trade after the 2003 season. In seven seasons with the Twins, he saved 260 games, surpassing former closer Rick Aguilera's franchise record of 254."He meant a lot to us, there's no doubt. He set an all-time saves record, which is saying something," Ryan said. "I think when he came on the scene here a long time ago, we were looking for a closer and I'll be darned if he didn't meet exactly what our standards were. He got the job done."
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Rangers sign right handed pitcher Joe Nathan

The Texas Rangers have agreed to a deal with right handed pitcher Joe Nathan according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. The deal is for two-years with a club option for a third year. Sullivan says that this movement could mean that Neftali Feliz will be moving to the starting rotation. The 36-year old Nathan was 2-1 with a 4.84 ERA and 14 saves in 44.2 innings with the Twins in 2011...

Reliever Nathan joins Rangers' bullpen

Joe Nathan has signed with the Texas Rangers, according to multiple reports.Nathan spent seven seasons as the closer for the Minnesota Twins. The 36-year-old right-hander became a free agent following the 2011 season, and is now on his way to Texas.The signing, a two-year deal, was first reported by MLB.coms T.R. Sullivan and confirmed by FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal also...

Fantasy Baseball Projection: Joe Nathan

With Jonathan Papelbon signing with the Phillies, the next big name closer signing is that of Joe Nathan who signed a 2 year, $14 million deal with the Rangers. With the loss of Nathan, the Minnesota Twins lose their all-time career saves leader. Nathan's durability is in question. The deal sends Neftali Feliz, who saved 72 games over the past two seasons, into the Rangers’...

Rangers To Sign Joe Nathan

The Rangers have signed Joe Nathan, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. It's a two-year deal with an option for 2014, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter links). The move means Neftali Feliz is headed to Texas' rotation. Nathan, an unranked free agent, won't cost the Rangers a draft pick and his former team, the Twins, won't obtain...

Nathan Likes Facing AL West Foes

Yes, Joe Nathan is 37 years old. Yes, pushing Neftali Feliz to the starting rotation is far from guaranteed success. Yes, $14.5 million is a lot to give a 37-year-old closer who's had arm trouble. But one thing can be universally recognized about the Texas Rangers' free agent signing of the veteran closer: Joe Nathan loves facing the AL West. Thanks to our Rangers information...

Joe Nathan, Texas Ranger

The Texas Rangers, according to multiple local (North Texas) reports, has signed veteran closer Joe Nathan to a two-year deal, $7 million deal with an option for a third year. Per friend of Batter's Box Jamey Newberg, "As long as Nathan is healthy, Neftali Feliz is your newest Texas Rangers starting pitcher."Nathan had been rumored to both the Tigers and Twins, but...

Texas Sized Changes: Joe Nathan/Neftali Feliz

As the World Series wrapped up, and talk turned to Rangers starting pitcher C.J. Wilson potentially leaving as a free agent, whispers of closer Neftali Feliz filling that void began to get louder. News of Joe Nathan signing a two-year contract worth $14.5 million all but assures the speculated move of Feliz to the rotation happening in 2012. What can be expected of both players...

Texas Rangers Sign Closer Joe Nathan

The Rangers may be operating a revolving door. Joe Nathan coming in, but is C.J. Wilson going out?

Rangers Sign Joe Nathan, Plan to Start Feliz

Breaking news out of Dallas, as TR Sullivan of MLB.com is reporting that the two-time defending American League champion Texas Rangers have signed former Twins closer Joe Nathan. Terms have not been disclosed as of yet, but Ken Rosenthal is reporting that it's a two year deal with a club option. Jon Heyman is reporting that Nathan will be getting around $7 million a year, which...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.