Source: USA TODAY
The Detroit Tigers, who saved nearly $80 million in their recent deals, used some of their newfound cash Tuesday by reaching a tentative agreement with free agent closer Joe Nathan on a two-year contract, a person directly involved with the negotiations told USA TODAY Sports.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract was not finalized.
Nathan, 39, who spent the past two seasons with the Texas Rangers, fills a huge void in the Tigers bullpen. He saved 80 games over the last two seasons with Texas and has produced at least 36 saves in eight seasons.
“I’m glad he joined the team,” Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter told USA TODAY Sports. “With his experience, he just made us stronger. He was a lot of fun when we played together in Minnesota.
“He wants the ball every day, if he could.”
The Tigers are in the midst of a significant offseason re-tooling, having traded first baseman Prince Fielder to Texas for second baseman Ian Kinsler, and No. 4 starter Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals for a package of three players.
Fister was due to make around $7 million next season, and the money saved on both trades will go toward Nathan and possibly an effort to sign Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer to a contract extension.
Free agent closer Brian Wilson, who also was being courted by the Tigers, told them onday that he was going a different direction. He was negotiating a one-year contract to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to a person directly involved in the negotiations.