Veteran closer Joe Nathan has been told he will not make the Nationals and has opted out of his minor-league deal with the team, according to tweets from various reporters, including Jamal Collier of MLB.com and Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. The Nationals have announced that they’ve formally released Nathan, along with fellow righty Matt Albers. The Nats signed both pitchers to minor-league deals in late January.
The 42-year-old Nathan missed much of the past two seasons after having Tommy John surgery, though he fared well (albeit in a very small sample) in 6 1/3 innings with the Cubs and Giants last year. He’s now over three years removed from his last full, strong season in the big leagues — he posted a 1.39 ERA, 10.2 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 while making the All-Star team for the Rangers in 2013. He has 377 career saves, but he’s not done — he hopes to latch on with another team, as MASN’s Mark Zuckerman tweets. Nathan did post a solid 3.86 ERA with nine strikeouts and three walks in 11 2/3 innings this spring, so teams in need of bullpen help could view him as a possibility.
The 34-year-old Albers is coming off a poor season with the White Sox in which he posted a 6.31 ERA, 5.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 over 51 1/3 innings. He was effective in several consecutive seasons with various clubs before that, however, and seems unlikely to have trouble finding a minor-league deal elsewhere should he seek one.