Tigers finalize deal with Nathan

The Sports NetworkDecember 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 CBSSports.com reported the deal to have a total value of $20 million with a $9 million salary for 2014.

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.

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