Heyman | Nationals bring back Joe Nathan with minor league deal

26 July 2016: Chicago Cubs Pitcher Joe Nathan (36) [1998] pitches during a game between the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire)
Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire

The Washington Nationals and right-handed pitcher Joe Nathan have agreed to terms on a minor league deal, sources tell FanRag Sports. Nathan originally made appearances with the Nationals during in spring training before electing to exercise the opt out clause in his contract in late March.

Nathan produced just 6.1 innings of work last season with the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants as he recovered from Tommy John Surgery. He did not allow a single run in any of his 10 appearances while striking out 10 opposing batters.

He was slated to remain a stalwart of the Detroit Tigers’ bullpen in 2015, but suffered an elbow injury after getting just a single out. He would go on to need Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career, which ended his 2015 season and led to the decline of his 2016 contract, making him a free agent.

Nathan has still not allowed a run in the major leagues since 2014, when he served as the Tigers’ closer. In his lone season in the role with the club, he recorded 35 saves but posted a 4.81 ERA as a 39-year-old.

[graphiq id=”j1hR4Gpj6fP” title=”Joe Nathan Career ERA, WHIP and K/BB” width=”800″ height=”598″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/j1hR4Gpj6fP” ]

During his peak seasons as a member of the Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers, Nathan saved at least 35 games in nine out of 11 seasons with the only two failed attempts coming after he missed the entire 2010 campaign due to his first Tommy John surgery and 2011 when he spent half the season rehabbing.

Over the course of his 16-year major league career, Nathan owns a career 2.87 ERA accompanied by 377 saves. Now at age 42, he is attempting to make an appearance for the sixth club of his career.

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