Joe Nathan will be on a short leash as the Tigers’ closer next season


As part of his end-of-season chat with reporters Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said the team is expected to stick with Joe Nathan at closer next season despite his struggles this year.

However, the GM also indicated to James Schmehl of that Nathan will likely be on a very short leash:

I would think he starts as our closer going into it, but he has to perform up to the capabilities required of doing it. Nathan, we know was very inconsistent. Particularly early in the season.

Nathan blew seven saves and had a 4.81 ERA after posting a combined 2.09 ERA for the Rangers during the past two seasons. He improved in the second half, throwing 23 innings with a 2.70 ERA, but even then his 17/13 K/BB ratio suggests Nathan was nowhere near his old self.

He also pitched through some arm issues and will be 40 years old next month. Nathan has a lengthy track record of elite work at closer and is under contract for $10 million next season, but it sounds like he’ll be on thin ice from Day 1.

Indians designate Carlos Gonzalez for assignment

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The Indians have designated outfielder Carlos Gonzalez for assignment. This comes after Gonzalez batted a mere .210/.282/.276 over 117 plate appearances in Cleveland. That came after he had to settle for a minor league contract with the Indians in mid-March.

A few years ago Gonzalez was a superstar, winning three Gold Gloves, two Silver Slugger Awards, making the All-Star team three times and coming in third in the MVP balloting once upon a time. That was then, however. His most recent good season came in 2016, when he hit .298/.350/.505 with 25 homers and drove in 100. In 2017 and 2018 he combined to hit .232/.269/.334. Between his falloff in production and the fact that his big numbers of the past were heavily supported by playing at Coors Field, it should not be shocking that he couldn’t make it work in Cleveland.

If he wants to continue his career, he’ll no doubt have to take a minor league gig someplace. Otherwise, this could be the end of the line.