Minnesota Twins: 5 Reasons They'll Really Miss Joe Nathan
The Twins have had some great closers in recent years.
Rick Aguilera, Eddie Guardado, and, of course, Joe Nathan all come to mind.
This offseason, Nathan signed with the Texas Rangers, leaving the Twins bullpen in even more disarray than it was last season.
Nathan was the best closer in the team’s history—look at what he did in his time with the Twins.
Four time All-Star, 2009 AL Rolaids Relief Man Award, holder of the Twins' single-season saves record (47), and the franchise's all-time saves leader (255).
It’s obvious that the Twins are really going to miss Nathan.
Matt Capps Is Still the Closer
I know it’s hard to get many saves when the team you play for has 99 losses, but when you blow nine saves, you are opening yourself up for criticism.
In 2010, Matt Capps came over to the Twins and looked like a savior, getting 16 saves in just 27 appearances. Last year, Capps only had 15 saves in 69 games.
Granted, the offense wasn't there for the Capps last year, but the dramatic drop-off in saves is concerning.
Twins fans would rather have what they feel is a sure thing in Joe Nathan instead of the inconsistency they have felt in two years of Capps.
Joel Zumaya's Hurt
The Twins didn't make huge bullpen moves this offseason, but one intriguing one was Joel Zumaya.
The signing was a low-risk deal, which is good now that Zumaya is headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery.
With Zumaya’s injury, it shows that there is a huge hole in the Twins bullpen.
Add that to the huge hole that Joe Nathan left, it’ll be even more evident the Twins miss him.
It probably should be a cliché for a clubhouse of grown men, but they need a leader.
To the outsiders, it looked like Michael Cuddyer was the leader in the clubhouse for the Twins.
Now, he’s gone and it doesn't look like many are willing to step up and take that role.
Joe Nathan would have.
Now, the Twins have no leader and no one to tell the bullpen pitchers what to do.
Uncertainty of Bullpen
I now present to you the Twins bullpen depth chart, according to ESPN.com: Glen Perkins, Alex Burnett, Kyle Waldrop, Jeff Gray, Brian Duensing, and closer Matt Capps.
In all honesty, is there anyone on that list you’d trust with the ball late in the game with other than Perkins?
I don’t think there is.
Maybe I’m too harsh to the rest of the bullpen, but I’d like to have a couple trustworthy arms.
I’ll let Duensing and Burnett pitch, but I want guys like Perkins and Joe Nathan in the ninth.
Glen Perkins' Teacher
It doesn't look like Glen Perkins has much more to learn, but it’s always nice to have a teacher.
Who’s a better teacher than Joe Nathan?
Nathan is everything a successful bullpen pitcher wants to be, a save machine.
Nathan wasn't the biggest name closer in the game, but he was probably the best the Twins ever had. He will be missed.