We learned yesterday that Joe Nathan declined his $9.5 million player option with the Rangers in hopes of landing a multi-year contract in free agency. The soon-to-be 39-year-old should be in a favorable position to meet his goal, especially now that teams won’t have to surrender a draft pick in order to sign him:
Nathan has gotten his career back on track after Tommy John surgery in 2010, posting a 2.09 ERA over the past two seasons while going 80-for-86 in save chances. With a return to Texas in doubt, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com writes that the Rangers will likely turn to Neftali Feliz, Joakim Soria, or Tanner Scheppers for the closer role in 2014.
SNY’s Andy Martino reports that the Mets are close to a deal with free agent Jose Bautista. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as the Mets were rumored to be interested in him on Monday, a day after the Braves released him.
Bautista, 37, struggled to a .593 OPS in 40 plate appearances with the Braves. He’s coming off of his worst season as a regular, as he hit .203 in 157 games last year with the Blue Jays.
Bautista mostly played in the outfield for the Jays, but played third base for the Braves. The Mets need depth at both third base and in the outfield due to injuries to Todd Frazier, Yoenis Cespedes, and Juan Lagares.
It will be interesting to see who loses their roster spot to accomodate Bautista. I suggested earlier it should be Jose Reyes.