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.

Mariners, Indians and Rays make a three-way swap

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The Indians, Mariners, and Rays are working toward finalizing a three-team trade. The full details have not been revealed yet, and there are conflicting reports as to who is going where, but we know that Carlos Santana and Edwin Encarnacion are involved.

Initial reports have the Mariners getting Edwin Encarnacion from the Indians in exchange for Carlos Santana, with Cleveland also receiving first baseman Jake Bauers from the Rays. Outfielder/third baseman Yandy Diaz will reportedly head to Tampa Bay along with a player to be named later. There has been a conflict in the past few minutes, however as to where Encarnacion is actually going: Seattle or Tampa Bay. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com says it’s Seattle, Bob Nightengale says it’s Tampa Bay. We’ll know soon enough, I suppose.

Santana played for the Phillies last year and was traded to Seattle just a couple of weeks ago. He’ll never have a chance to wear a Mariners uniform and, instead, will go back to Cleveland, where he played his entire career until 2018. Encarnacion has spent the last two years in Cleveland. Santana is owed $35 million over the next two seasons and has a 2021 buyout. Encarnacion is owed $24 million in 2019 if you include the buyout on his 2020 club option.  If Encarnacion is going to Seattle, you have to figure that the Mariners will flip him in mid-season if possible.