Update: Yankees have interest in Joe Nathan

What Went Right: 2013 Draft
Update: A-Rod's appeal hearing concludes

Thursday: The Yankees do indeed have legitimate interest in Nathan, according to Mark Feinsand. They are going to focus on more pressing needs (rotation, offense in general) first before circling back around for big money bullpen help, however.

Sunday: Via Andy McCullough: The Yankees have “had contact” with free agent right-hander Joe Nathan. They are seeking a late-inning reliever to pair with David Robertson in the wake of Mariano Rivera‘s retirement, and they’ve already shown interest in free agent Grant Balfour as well. It figures they would at least touch base with the market’s top available closer at some point.

Nathan, who turns 39 on Friday, pitched to a 1.39 ERA and 2.26 FIP in 64.2 innings for the Rangers this season while going 43-for-46 in save chances. Following a slight hiccup in 2011, he’s rebounded to be his usual self following Tommy John surgery in 2010. Nathan is probably going to get a pricey two of three-year contract this winter (Tigers?) and that doesn’t really fit into New York’s budget. As with Javier Lopez, it’s good they did their due diligence, but money might be an obstacle.

What Went Right: 2013 Draft
Update: A-Rod's appeal hearing concludes
  • SDB

    Ugh. Please, no Joe Nathan. Please.

    • Havok9120

      Even if money wasn’t an issue? If so, I’m just curious why. I know very little about him.

      • Wil Nieves #1 Fan

        Nathan’s HR/9 last year was 0.28. He’s due for some major regression.

        • Mac

          Probably is (how many Ps, even as RPs, have ever been true talent 1.4 ERA guys?), but I don’t think that’s enough to say: “Ugh. Please, no Joe Nathan. Please.” In all likelihood his HR rate will regress back to normal and he’ll still be one of the better RPs in the game.

          • Havok9120

            Yeah, I understand us being scared off by potential HR/9 issues (Huuuuuuuggggghhheeeessss), but if that the biggest knock we’ve got on the guy I wouldn’t be too concerned.

            • Mac

              He’s had a pretty respectable HR/9 overall on his career, but 2013 was just a rate so low it’s very unlikely to be sustainable (he had seen his HR rate go up the couple of years before, so maybe he made a change in addition to getting very lucky). That helped keep his ERA down at what is also probably an unsustainable 1.4. If some team is really bidding for him expecting an ERA of 1.4 next season then I wouldn’t beat their offer. But in all likelihood I think other teams know that isn’t his long-run ERA. (I still am not necessarily advocating signing the guy, but think it’s worth looking into.)

      • RetroRob

        He’s easily one of the top closers of the past decade. Actually, Mo and then Nathan are the top two. (Can’t put Kimbrel in there yet until he puts up a few more years.) So, yeah, not quite sure why he has an issue with him beyond the money it would take.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Seems like overkill. I’m all for a veteran piece, but I don’t think we need to go this far, especially if the plan is for DRob to close.

    • Havok9120

      Yeah. This isn’t the place for the money even if the budget remained in the 230 million dollar range, let alone at 189. Extend DRob and roll the dice if you’re looking for 2-3 years of stability in the 8th/9th inning.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        A Veras or Crain or whatever mid-range reliever out there would be interesting in order to help support the 7th and 8th. I’d like to see Kelley climb into 8th inning duty, but he could just as easily fall off the cliff.

        As a rule, though, I throw middle relief at the wall until something sticks.

    • qwerty

      Since when was that the plan?

      • jjyank

        He said “if the plan is”. Reading comprehension!

        I do think that it’s a viable and reasonable plan for Yankee fans to be assuming, too. So what are you saying?

        • qwerty

          His entire statement assumes the yankees are considering Robertson as a closer. I asked him where he was getting this idea from because I have not even heard a single rumor concerning this, and the fact that the yankees have been actively looking at closers seems to further support this. It seems that my reading comprehension is hardly in question here. Before you start correcting someone’s english you may want to first know what you’re talking about.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            It’s your reading comprehension.

  • The Other Sam

    I wouldn’t mind the insurance just in case…if not for the $.

    • Farewell Mo


      Other than D rob, the bullpen is full of question marks If not Nathan, They need at least 1 or 2 veteran relievers.

      • qwerty

        Drob is a question as a closer, so that makes the entire bullpen.

        • qwerty

          question *mark*

  • Preston

    Inert age and Yankees joke here.

    • t2ny

      Many of the old guys have been rather inert.

  • Anthony

    We’ve rocked this guy so many times over the years,good regular season but choked in the playoffs. Don’t know if he can handle the pressure.

    • Kenny

      Knowing that he won’t be facing the Yankees but will, instead, be a Yankee, should take the pressure off.

      Of course, it was useful for the NYY to have an elite reliever out there whom they could routinely pummel.

  • EndlessJose

    I don’t think age and performance is a problem.

    But like Hoffman Nathan never pitched good in meaningful game.Think of him in the playoffs.Yikes.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      But did he pitch well?

  • CashmanNinja

    People always act like Joe Nathan is the reason his teams never made the playoffs. He was on the Twins for the majority of his career. The Minnesota freaking Twins. He’s put up terrific numbers over his career and last year was fantastic as well. I understand the money may be an obstacle, but that should be the only reason fans should be scared off. His performance or “lack of pressure” is just BS and an example of fans grasping at straws. He was better than nearly every reliever in the league last year. So does that mean the relievers who are “proven” under pressure simply wilted under the pressure? It makes the argument pointless.

    • Mac

      I tend to agree, but the accusations aren’t totally baseless. His career playoff ERA is 9.00. Of course, that’s in only 9 IP, but he’s had all of one good playoff series out of 5. The sample is way too small to draw any real conclusions, but people aren’t just making up that he’s stunk in the playoffs. He really has.

      I’d also point out that the Twins were regarded as one of the better run teams in baseball until quite recently, so your point about being on the Twins doesn’t really carry much weight. The Twins made the playoffs 3 times in Nathan’s first 6 seasons there, averaging 87.5 Ws in that span.

      • jjyank

        You discredited your own argument there. I’m not necessarily saying the Yankees should sign Nathan (though at the right price, it would be awesome), but any argument based on 9 (!) innings shouldn’t even be given an afterthought. Has he stunk in the postseason, or has he just stunk in 9 arbitrarily selected innings?

        People bash the “he pitched well in July” type of arguments all the time. October is a bit different, in that the caliber of teams he would be facing is better, but it’s still an extreme reach with that sample size.

  • screw randy levine

    of course they are interested in him, he is old and expensive!

    like a closer cant be easily found cheaper and younger?

    Fuck this management

    • jjyank

      …or maybe they’re interested in a talented player. Perish the thought. Let’s just sign everyone who is 27 or younger and see what happens.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      “like a closer cant be easily found cheaper and younger?”

      Ask all the teams with shitty closers that question.

  • Mike

    I hope all this means is Cashman bumped into Joe Nathan’s cab driver.

  • Dan

    I like Nathan, but I think the largest bullpen contract they can afford outside of D-Rob is $4m or less, AAV (and preferably less). I don’t buy in to the SABR idea that bullpen pitchers shouldn’t get big money because they’re so volatile and don’t contribute that much to wins (in terms of WAR). After watching Mo, how could anyone have that perspective? However, if you’re on a strict budget, the bullpen is an easy place to save money. Many are volatile, so I’d prefer Cash figures out a way to get ahead of the curve (maybe with some reclamation projects) and save some dough.

    • jjyank

      I agree with your general premise, but really, you said this?

      “After watching Mo, how could anyone have that perspective?”

      Don’t point to a first ballot Hall of Famer, and an aberration of epic proportions (in terms of consistency and longevity among relievers) as your reason to not spend money on the bullpen.