The Tigers received some grim news on Thursday when they learned closer Joe Nathan suffered a torn UCL in his right elbow during a rehab start. The right-hander will need season-ending Tommy John surgery. Nathan had made only once appearance during the 2015 regular season, recording a one-out save.
As Nathan is 40 years old and will be 41 if and when he takes the mound next season. That, along with his struggles last year, caused many to speculate that the veteran is headed towards retirement. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports otherwise. “I am preparing myself to be a major league player again,” Nathan said. “That is my goal.”
Nathan blew seven saves with a 4.81 ERA and a mediocre 54/29 K/BB ratio in 58 innings.
Joakim Soria has pitched well in the closer’s role sans Nathan. On the season, he’s 5-for-5 in save chances with a 1.35 ERA and a 4/0 K/BB ratio in 6 2/3 innings.
Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.
The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”
Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.
Now, however, Kopech has opted out.