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.
The Tampa Bay Rays were reported this week to be “open for business” as far as trades go. Normally that means nothing happens until late June or something. The Rays are getting right down to it, though, as they’ve just traded closer Alex Colome and outfielder Denard Span to the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners, who have played some outstanding ball lately thanks to some outstanding starting pitching, and are looking to bolster other areas as they make a push in the AL West, will likely slot Colome into a setup role in front of closer Edwin Diaz. Span will take over center field, allowing Dee Gordon to, eventually anyway, once he recovers from a fractured toe, cover for the suspended Robinson Cano at second base. If the M’s make the playoffs he’d likely do so in the postseason too, given that Cano will be ineligible for any October play due to his suspension.
Colome has saved 11 games for the Rays, with a 4.15 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 23/8 in 21.2 innings.Span is hitting .238/.364/.385 with four homers and six stolen bases on the season.
Two players are going back to the Rays: righties Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero. Moore was the Mariners’ second round pick in 2015 and made his big league debut last season, pitching 59 innings in 2018 but back in the minors so far in 2018. Romero was a 15th rounder for Seattle in 2017 and is currently plying his trade in A-ball.
The Rays, as expected, are using the 2018 season to acquire prospects. The Mariners, who are unexpectedly strong in the early going, are trying to go for it even harder. Quite a big trade for late May.