Joe Nathan Is Apparently On The Trade Block
By Eric Reining
Per Ken Rosenthal, the Rangers have had “internal discussions” about trading its closer, Joe Nathan.
This news comes as a bit of a surprise given the recent acquisition of Matt Garza, who appeared on the surface to be a symbol that Texas was going for it in 2013.
But as the most famous Royals’ fan in the world, Rany Jazayerli, posits:
This is not a declaration of the Rangers waiving the white flag, but rather an endeavor to potentially exploit the market at its margins … the small crevices other contending teams may not be ballsy enough to travel through.
Check this out: the Rangers have one of the best bullpens in Major League Baseball.
FanGraphs agrees, as Texas’ pen is 3rd in MLB in FIP-wins (or fWAR) at +4.4. The collective ERA from the unit is 3.00, 4th in MLB. (For the record, the bullpen’s xFIP is 3.90 — almost a full run higher than the ERA — suggesting some luck has been involved. Of course, that’s also to take into consideration that relievers can generally get away with having higher xFIP’s than starters can, due to the sample, but that’s a topic for another day.)
What I’m trying to say is, the rest of baseball needs Joe Nathan more than the Rangers do. It’s still an elite bullpen he would be leaving behind.
Nathan is due roughly $2.5 million the rest of 2013, and has a $9 million option that he can opt out of if he finishes 16 more games this year.
I wouldn’t have any problems seeing him go and, furthermore, if the Rangers fall any further behind Oakland over the next three days I wouldn’t be completely disappointed to see Jon Daniels shop Matt Garza and a few others.