Sunday, March 21, 2010

Joe Nathan: What Does the Future Hold?

This morning The Twins and All Star closer Joe Nathan announced that Saturday's throw session did not go well and he will opt to have Tommy John surgery in the next week or two. This is sad news for Twins fans but expected. Up until yesterday I was about 80% sure that he was going to need to go this route. It was more of the fan side of me thinking he would be able to pitch through the pain. But that was not the case. Finally, moving forward their is a spot open now on the team. And one of the current guys in the pen looks to be getting a big promotion the the 9th inning barring a trade. I think there are good (+) and bad (-) things about that and I will run through them.

1. (-) With Papelbon and Rivera, Joe Nathan is one of the top 3 closers in baseball and his value of 47 saves in 2009 will be missed.

2. (+) Open spot may allow Anthony Slama break camp with the team. He has been a pleasure to have striking out 8 in 4 scoreless spring innings.

3. (-) If Pat Neskek is not ready to go, and a trade is not made, Glen Perkins might also break camp with the Twins.

4. (+) The Twins have some very talented long term closer options who are close to the majors. Carlos Gutierrez looks like he is going to take over that role in AA. Alex Burnett should be a late reliever in AAA. And 2009 draftees Billy Bullock and Ben Tootle are on a fast track to the majors with electric stuff.

5. (-) Matt Gurrier, Jesse Crain, and John Rauch are all ready to be free agents after the season. If anyone of the three take over the roll and are successful they might want to go on the open market and be a full time closer if Nathan returns next year.

6. (+) Type A compensation might be possible if Guerrier or Rauch have a great year in a walk year. And the Twins can collect a first round draft pick.

7. (+/-) If the Twins internal options do not work out then they might have to go out and make a deal. It is said that Heath Bell has a substantial price tag. But if it does not include any of Hicks, Gibson or Sano; then the Twins should negotiate.

8. (+/-) If Twins get Heath Bell and Nathan comes back next year, their could be an issue in 2011. They will both be free agents in 2012 with Nathan having a club option.

Leave comments if you think any of these scenarios are wrong or if their are any I left out.

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