Joe Nathan free agency: Closer 'loves' the Tigers

Ronald Martinez

The Tigers have an interest in signing Nathan, but he is not going to put pen to paper soon.

Free agent closer Joe Nathan said Monday on MLB Network Radio that he 'loves' the Detroit Tigers, reports Jason Beck of MLB.com.

"I definitely love the Tigers, know them very well, having competed against that squad for so many years when I was with the Twins, knowing some of the guys over there, knowing how deep they are, rotation deep," Nathan said over the air. "Their lineup and offense obviously are impressive. I think one of the things is that their defense has definitely improved. It’s a good ballpark to play in, a good crowd to play in front of. Detroit’s definitely a very appealing and attractive team to look at, I think."

However, Nathan does not appear close to signing a contract with Detroit or anyone else. Instead, he would rather wait out the market to see if the Yankees or another team shows an interest in him. Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter has been texting Nathan to keep the Tigers in mind, though.

The Tigers are rumored to be very interested in acquiring Nathan to aid a bullpen that has struggled recently. The team's relief corp's 4.01 ERA in 2013 was seventh worst in the MLB. Meanwhile, one of the team's best bullpen arms, Joaquin Benoit, is a free agent. Furthermore, Drew Smyly could move to the rotation if the Tigers make a trade involving a starting pitcher. Smyly had been outstanding as a set-up man in 2013.

Nathan, 38, posted a 1.39 ERA and 0.90 WHIP while collecting 43 saves for the Rangers in 2013. He played in Texas for two years on a $14 million contract. Previously, he had been the closer of the Twins for seven years. He is reportedly looking for a multi-year contract offer in free agency.

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