Twins decline $12.5 million option on closer Joe Nathan

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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.

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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.