Chicago Cubs sign veteran closer Joe Nathan; Place him on disabled list
In a somewhat surprising move this morning, the Chicago Cubs brought in a rehabbing veteran reliever. The former All-Star will spend some time on the disabled list before being ready for action with the big league club.
The Chicago Cubs announced the signing of the former All-Star reliever Joe Nathan, according to Gordon Wittenmyer. Nathan, 41, is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and won’t be available until the second half of the season.
Nathan is a six-time All-Star, with his last All-Star appearance in 2013. Nathan is 62-34 with a 2.89 ERA in his career. He has 377 career saves, the majority with Minnesota.
Nathan had success in 2013 with the Texas Rangers, when he went 6-1 with a 1.39 ERA with 43 saves in 67 appearances. Nathan did not pitch in 2015 due to Tommy John surgery.
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Nathan, according to ESPN Chicago’s very own Jesse Rogers, will make the league minimum for the Cubs, and was brought in as bullpen depth for the second half of the season. Similar to how the Cubs added guys like Fernando Rodney and Rafael Soriano late in the season last year.
You may remember that the Rafael Soriano signing did not work out for the Cubs (allowing four runs in 5 2/3 innings despite two wins).
The Rodney signing did work out, though, as he allowed just one earned run in 12 innings down the stretch last year for the Cubs, and so far, has pitched 16 innings of relief for the Padres, where he hasn’t allowed a run and picked up 10 saves.
Nathan is not going to be the closer for the Chicago Cubs, but could provide some solid veteran presence in the bullpen in the second half of the season.
After a strong start, the Cubs bullpen has struggled a bit recently, so who knows how the bullpen will shape up for the stretch run.
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Nathan is a low-risk, high reward signing since he getting paid the league minimum and had 35 saves for the Tigers in 2014. His age hasn’t really seemed to catch up to him as just the Tommy John surgery slowed him last year.
Once healthy, there’s no doubt he will get an opportunity with the Chicago Cubs, but there is still some time for the front office to decide what role they want him in.
Nathan was placed on the 60-day disabled list, so he does not take up a spot on the 40-man roster.