Veteran reliever Joe Nathan posted a disappointing 4.84 ERA in 44 2/3 innings this season. And while his numbers were greatly improved in the second half, the Twins made the no-brainer decision earlier this month to decline his $12.5M option for 2012.
Nathan will become a free agent on Thursday, allowed to sign with any team he chooses.
From the sound of it, he’s already expecting to hear from one particular organization.
According to Greg Logan of Newsday, the 36-year-old right-hander told a group of people at Stony Brook University this weekend that he would enjoy finishing out his career with the Mets, a team he grew up rooting for as a child of Pine Bush, New York.
“We’re definitely not counting any teams out,” said Nathan, a Stony Brook alum. “But obviously, the Mets are going to be on my radar. It’s a team I followed growing up around this area. That would be exciting. The dollars are kind of on the back burner. It’s all about winning right now. Where I’m at in my career, I just want to be on a club that has a chance to go to the postseason and have a chance to pitch in big games.”
The Mets, in their current state, probably fall short of meeting that “chance to go the postseason” criterion. But it sure sounds like Nathan would offer his “hometown team” a small discount if they’re interested.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.