Twins lose Nathan to Rangers

The Twins' all-time leader in saves shut the door on his eight-year run here, agreeing to join the two-time AL champions for two years and about $14 million.


Former Twins closer Joe Nathan agreed to a two-year contract with the Rangers for about $14 million, with an option for 2014.

Photo: Brian Peterson , Star Tribune file

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Joe Nathan made it clear late in the season that the Twins would have to show him they were serious about contending if he was to return for a ninth season with the club.

He's not returning, instead opting to join the two-time defending American League champion Texas Rangers.

Nathan agreed to a two-year contract with the Rangers for about $14 million with an option for 2014. The deal is expected to be made official Tuesday. Texas, according to reports, already has informed flame-throwing reliever Neftali Feliz that he is headed for the starting rotation after saving 72 games over the past two seasons.

Nathan leaves a team that went to the postseason four times over eight seasons with him. But the 2011 Twins lost 99 games and have to turn a lot of things around to be a contender again.

"The Twins were a team we loved, my family loved being with," Nathan said Monday night. "At the same time, I felt like I didn't know which direction they were heading.

"When we sat down and finally talked with the Rangers and talked with some of the guys in the front office we clicked and felt this would be a good fit. We wanted to pursue this and see where we could go with this."

Nathan received interest from 10 teams and offers from six. After having dinner with Hall of Fame owner Nolan Ryan and the rest of the Rangers organization, Nathan decided to end his tenure with the Twins.

"Obviously with the Twins and the opportunity they gave me, this was a huge decision for us to move over to this club and say goodbye to an era with the Twins," he said. "It was bittersweet, but we knew once we started talking with this team that this could be a very good fit."

Nathan, who turns 37 Tuesday, became a free agent after the season when the Twins declined to pick up his $12 million option on his contract, instead paying him a $2 million buyout.

"You hate to see him go elsewhere," Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said. "But that's what happens in free agency. He ultimately decided that Texas was the spot where he wanted to pitch. They have a good club in Texas."

The Twins made an offer to Nathan just before he became a free agent, and indications are that they were willing to offer him something in the range of what he's getting with Texas.

"We had an offer on the table," Ryan said. "He ended up going to Texas."

Rangers GM Jon Daniels told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "We're getting a big-time make-up, big-time pedigree, big-time stuff closer in Joe Nathan. We're also moving one of the best arms in our organization and probably one of the best arms in professional baseball to the rotation."

With Nathan leaving for a proven contender, the Twins remain interested in re-signing Michael Cuddyer but could turn toward Jason Kubel if Cuddyer signs elsewhere.

The Twins will be forced to come up with another closing option. Ryan said they remain interested in bringing back Matt Capps. They also could choose from several free-agent closers; available ones include Heath Bell, Jonathan Broxton, Francisco Rodriguez and others.

"We have to look and see who's available," Ryan said, "whether it's through a trade or the free-agent market."

Indications are that the Twins prefer to add a closer rather than hand those duties to lefthander Glen Perkins, who had breakout 2011 as a setup man.

Nathan missed all of 2010 while recovering from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery and is an unranked free agent, meaning the Twins will not receive a draft pick as compensation.

He had his ups and downs in 2011 working his way back from the surgery, losing his closing role to Capps in April but regaining it in July. He was 2-1 with a 4.84 ERA and 14 saves.

Nathan came to the Twins with Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser from San Francisco for A.J. Pierzynski in November 2003. He had little experience as a closer but became one of the best in the game while with the Twins. He leaves with 260 career saves, a team record. He tied the record July 26 at Texas and set it Aug. 10 against Boston.

Nathan reached 10-and-5 status with the Twins this past season -- 10 years in the major leagues and five with the same team, meaning he had a full no-trade clause. The club approached him near the July 31 trade deadline about waiving his 10-and-5 rights, but he declined.

"The Twins have been first-class about this," said Dave Pepe, Nathan's agent.


Catcher Ryan Doumit, who agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract last week, will undergo his physical Tuesday. The Twins are expected to officially announce the deal Wednesday.

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@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)


Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 7:30 PM
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Boston 95 FINAL
Brooklyn 90
Minnesota 112 FINAL
Oklahoma City 94
Golden State 83 FINAL
Houston 90
Charlotte 96 FINAL
Chicago 101
Utah 91 FINAL
LA Lakers 98
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
San Jose 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Calgary 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
St. Louis 0 FINAL
Anaheim 3
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Columbus 3 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
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