A.J. Pierzynski celebrates with closer Joe Nathan.
The strength of the Texas Rangers in 2013 was without a doubt its stellar bullpen, and the head honcho in the Rangers' pen was veteran closer Joe Nathan.
The veteran, who will turn 39 in November, had one of the best seasons of his career as he racked up 43 saves and posted a 1.39 ERA during an all-star campaign. The club had an option on Nathan for the 2014 season at $9 million, a reasonable amount without question. But since he finished 55 games for the Rangers in 2013, Nathan has the right to void that option and hit the open market.
The Star-Telegram reported that Nathan won't make a decision until after the World Series, which begins Wednesday, but did say Nathan is seeking a two-year deal.
Conventional wisdom would suggest the Rangers would pass on offering Nathan two years considering the wealth of closer material they have on the roster already, led by former all-star closers Neftali Feliz and Joakim Soria, who will both be two years removed from Tommy John surgery. They also have set-up man Tanner Scheppers, who emerged as a quality option in the back end of the bullpen, but questions surround his low strikeout rate as to whether he'd be a good option closer.
“I’m not sure which route it’s going to go,” Nathan told the Star-Telegram. “I don’t know if they’re planning on picking the option up or not picking it up.
“We’re ready either way, and it’s no surprise that I’m going to try to look at getting at least a two-year deal. We’ll see if that can happen here in Texas, but I don’t know which path they want to go down. Whichever direction they come to us, we’re well prepared.”