The Twins announced today that they've declined Joe Nathan's option for 2012.

This was an expected move. Nathan would have made $12.5 million next year, but the Twins are exercising a $2 million buyout.

“I spoke with Joe and his agent this morning and expressed our interest in re-signing Joe," Twins GM Bill Smith said in the press release. "We will remain in contact with them as we move forward into the free agent process."

Nathan, who turns 37 next month, will be part of a crowded free agent market for closers, as discussed earlier today on this blog.

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