The Twins announced today that they've declined their club option on reliever Joe Nathan. The option was worth $12.5MM, but the team will pay a $2MM buyout. GM Bill Smith said, "I spoke with Joe and his agent this morning, and expressed our interest in re-signing Joe. We will remain in contact with them as we move forward into the free agent process."
Nathan signed a four-year contract extension for $47MM in March of 2008, and the total remains the record for a reliever. Nathan, 36, had been dominant as the Twins' closer from 2004-09, racking up a 1.87 ERA, 11.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9, and 246 saves in 418 2/3 innings. He had Tommy John surgery in March of 2010, returning this year to mixed results. Further removed from the surgery, he'll be a popular free agent target on a one-year deal.