UPDATE II: Via Jeff Wilson, Nathan will earn $7 million in 2012 and 2013 while the contract includes a $9 million club option for 2014 or a $500,000 buyout.
UPDATE: Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Nathan is guaranteed $14.5 million over the length of the contract, including the buyout for the option year.
Meanwhile, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that Feliz has been informed he will indeed make the move to the starting rotation.
8:07 PM: In a move that likely indicates Neftali Feliz is headed to the starting rotation next season, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that the Rangers have signed Joe Nathan. Full details aren’t yet known, but Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that he will receive a two-year contract with an option for a third year.
Nathan, who turns 37 tomorrow, made his way back from Tommy John surgery this season and posted a 4.84 ERA, 14 saves and 43/14 K/BB ratio over 44 2/3 innings. The veteran right-hander pitched much better when he regained the closer’s role from Matt Capps following the All-Star break, posting a 3.91 ERA and 22/5 K/BB ratio over 23 innings.
While the Rangers waffled on the situation earlier this year, they have said that they want to make a decision Feliz’s status going into spring training, so this would presumably set the stage for him to make a permanent move to the starting rotation.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.