The Texas Rangers have three days left to decide whether to pick up closer Joe Nathan's $9 million option for 2014, but may ultimately have to look beyond next season if they want to keep the veteran right-hander in Arlington.
Nathan is hoping for a multi-year contract from the Rangers, and could end up voiding his option for next season if they don't grant him one, reports Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas:
"I want at least two years," Nathan said Thursday. "The last couple of years, I think I've proven that I'm healthy. I think I've proven to lots of skeptics and critics that I can handle a two-year deal or maybe two and an option.
"If that's something [the Rangers] want to do, great. If not, I'm in the position that I need to go out and find that."
Nathan added that he'd like his multi-year deal to be with Texas, but knows that he and his agent probably would have heard from the club by now if something like that were one the table.
If the Rangers decline Nathan's option -- or he voids it -- he's owed a $750,000 buyout. The Rangers have a couple solid in-house options to take over as closer should that happen, namely Joakim Soria and Tanner Scheppers, but could also end up looking elsewhere to fill that void.
The 38-year-old Nathan signed a two-year, $14.5 million contract with Texas before the 2012 season. It's always a risk signing a guy coming off of Tommy John surgery, but the Rangers' gamble paid off.
The right-hander posted a 2.09 ERA and 80 saves over 129 innings during his two seasons in Arlington, while successfully avoiding the disabled list entirely.