Posted at 2:00 PM on March 24, 2008
by Chris Dall
The Star Tribune and other outlets are reporting that the Twins and closer Joe Nathan have come to an agreement on a contract extension. The 3-year deal (with an option for a 4th) is reportedly worth more than $11 million a season.
Any thoughts? Is this smart move by the Twins? Does it soothe any bad feelings over the departures of Hunter and the Santana trade?
I never had bad thoughts about trading Santana, but to let Hunter just walk away was another matter altogether. His value may not have been Santana-like, but to think of the players the Twins could have added alongside newcomers like Young, Monroe, and Gomez with a Hunter trade is disappointing. I think the Twins felt the sting of letting Hunter walk play into their negotiations with Nathan. The casual fan will be happy to see another familiar face come loping into the late innings, but I'd be wary of signing a 33 year old pitcher to a four year deal. I heard the bullpen would be in disarray if Neshek were moved to the closing role, but this organization has an uncanny ability to plug many holes when pressed. It was Armando Benitez who laughed at the Twins for passing him over and choosing instead to develop a younger and less expensive Nathan for their closer role 4 years ago. The Twins chose wisely then, I hope they did so again.
La Velle E Neal III posted that the deal is for $47 million over 4 years '08-'11. The $47 mil includes a $2 mil buyout for the 2012 club option year.
I like the move. The Twins may not be contending this year come August, but I think they are building for '09, '10 and '11. He will be an important piece of the puzzle. This is a fair price in the current market for Nathan.
Even for those fans on the side of dealing Nathan because of the price, the Minnesota Twins have to sign him rather than let him go free with nothing in return. They will only get a fair return in trade if he is locked up for more than a year.
Sounds like Nathan will make $47 million over four years including a $2 million buyout for 2012 if the Twins don't pick up the option.
I think this is a good move by the Twins. They may not be in contention this year but I think they are building a good nucleus to contend in '09, '10 & '11. Keeping Nathan around makes sense.
Even if the Twins would decide to dump payroll at some point and change directions, they will get more return in a trade when Nathan is locked up for a while. We should all know you aren't in a good bargaining position if your player is soon to be a free agent. Reports say Nathan has a minimal no-trade clause with the right to refuse trade to 3 teams.