Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Joe Nathan 'definitely has an interest' in pitching for the Yankees

11/5/13, "Joe Nathan: 'Definitely an interest' in pitching for Yankees," Times Herald Record (Hudson Valley), Justin Rodriguez

"All-Star free agent closer Joe Nathan, a 1992 Pine Bush High School graduate, told the Times Herald-Record on Tuesday that he would be interested in pitching for the Yankees next season.

With the retirement of Mariano Rivera, the Yankees are looking for a closer. As of right now, set-up man David Robertson is the leading candidate to succeed Rivera. Robertson has been lights out in the eighth inning, but has converted only 8-of-18 career save opportunities.

Nathan, formerly of Circleville, has 341 career saves – 10th on the all-time list.

“There is definitely an interest there,” said Nathan, a six-time American League All-Star, who became a free agent last week. “Talk about exciting. To be able to go in and be the next guy to try to close there after Mariano, it would be a lot of fun. I think it would be a great challenge. Right now, all teams are going to be on the radar. The Yankees are definitely one of the teams we expect to talk to and expect to, at least, have some discussion with and see where they are. See what there thoughts are for the offseason and what they are trying to do.”

Nathan said he hopes to sign at least a two-year deal in the offseason. There is one caveat to land his services, said the right-hander: Nathan wants to pitch for a contender.

With 13 free agents, including Robinson Cano, Hiroki Kuroda and Curtis Granderson, this should be a busy offseason for the Yankees. The Yankees made $14.1 million qualifying offers to Cano, Kuroda and Granderson on Monday, and now await decisions by Kuroda and Granderson on whether they will accept. Cano is looking for a much bigger contract that could surpass $200 million.

“I think the Yankees have some things to do,” Nathan said. “I'm sure, knowing the Yankees, they are going to be looking at everybody and anybody. I know they have quite a few guys who are free agents. They have a lot of work to do. I'll definitely keep an eye on them and see what kind of moves they are making. See how it pans out.”

Earlier this week, ESPN baseball writer Buster Olney, along with Sports Illustrated, wrote that Detroit would be a good fit for Nathan. Nathan, who turns 39 on Nov. 22, converted 43 of 46 saves for Texas last season with an ERA of 1.39.

The Rangers picked up the 2014 club option on Nathan's contract for $9 million last Friday, but he had a right to decline the option – which he did – making him a free agent for the second time. Nathan signed a two-year contract with Texas for $14 million in November 2011 with the club option for '14.

We were hoping Texas would be able to do a two-year deal,” Nathan said. “But they have issues they need to deal with, things they need to deal with to try to strengthen their club. We understand that side of it. From there, we made them make a decision, and they were pretty clear that they didn't want to do a multi-year deal. We weren't even sure if they really wanted to do the one year. They picked up the option, but it could have been one of those things where they picked it up to save the buyout money ($500,000), too. But who knows? But we are definitely looking to get at least two years. We will see what the market looks like.”"

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