UPDATE: It’s official, as the Twins announced that they’ve declined Nathan’s option and hope to re-sign him at a lesser salary.
No surprise, but Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that “all signs point to the Twins declining Joe Nathan’s $12.5 million option for 2012.”
Nathan missed all of 2010 following Tommy John elbow surgery and struggled upon returning this year, but pitched very well down the stretch after a stint on the disabled list.
However, the decision between a $12.5 million option or $2 million buyout is a no-brainer for the Twins even if they’re interested in having Nathan back in 2012.
He threw 29 innings with a 3.38 ERA and 28/5 K/BB ratio from late June through the end of the season, but Nathan’s velocity was below his pre-surgery levels and he’s a 37-year-old entering a market saturated with veteran closers.
Free agent left-hander Wade Miley is among several offseason targets for the Twins, according to a report from Darren Wolfson of KSTP. Miley’s $12 million option was declined by the Orioles back in November, and while he’s expected to attract another major league deal in 2018, he hasn’t exactly been highly sought after this offseason.
The 31-year-old lefty finished his second campaign with the Orioles in 2017, producing an 8-15 record in 32 starts and ranking second-to-last among all AL starters with a 5.61 ERA, 5.3 BB/9 and 8.1 SO/9 in 157 1/3 innings. Even taking Miley’s undeniable durability into account — he remained healthy for the bulk of the season and completed his sixth straight year with 30+ starts — his declining value and career-worst numbers may lower his price tag as the 2018 season approaches.
Wolfson notes that the Twins have engaged in “regular dialogue” with Miley’s agent this winter, but he’s far from the only starting pitcher they have their eye on. Right-handers Yu Darvish, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb and Chris Tillman are still on their radar, among several others, and club owner Jim Pohlad said Saturday that he was “totally on board” with the idea of signing a big-name free agent like Darvish or another available starter. “There are some interesting names and some interesting opportunities there,” Pohlad told a crowd at TwinsFest. “I’m as intrigued by it as anybody and attracted to it as anybody.”