Lost in the terrible strike call that ended yesterday’s Rangers-Rays game is that the pitch closed out the 300th save of Joe Nathan’s career, moving him into a tie for 22nd place on the all-time list with Bruce Sutter and Jason Isringhausen.
What makes Nathan’s save total especially impressive is that he didn’t become a closer until age 29 and then missed his entire age-35 season following Tommy John elbow surgery. And yet if he duplicates last season’s 37 saves he’ll finish this year ranked 11th all time between Rollie Fingers and John Wetteland.
And if you look only at career saves from age 29 on, Nathan could finish this season fourth all time behind only Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, and Dennis Eckersley.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.
Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.
The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.
The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.