The Cubs announced Tuesday the team signed RHP Joe Nathan to a one-year Major League contract.
Nathan had Tommy John surgery in April, 2015 and is expected to be ready to pitch in the second half.
The 41-year old veteran closer pitched in one game for the Tigers last season before undergoing season-ending surgery.
Nathan was 5-4 with a 4.81 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and 3.94 FIP in 62 games for the Tigers in 2014. Before signing with the Tigers, Nathan earned back-to-back trips to the All-Star Game as the Rangers’ closer. Nathan was 6-2 with 43 save, a 1.39 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 2.26 FIP for Texas during the 2013 season.
Joe Nathan is a six-time All-Star who has earned 377 saves, eighth most in major league history, during his 15 Major League seasons with San Francisco (1999-2000, 2002-03), Minnesota (2004-09, 2011), Texas (2012-13) and Detroit (2014-15). He surpassed 30 saves in nine of 10 seasons from 2004-14, including four seasons with more than 40 saves, and recorded 35 saves with Detroit in 2014, his last full big league campaign. He made only one appearance with the Tigers last year before enduring his elbow injury in April and missing the rest of the season.
Overall, Joe Nathan is 62-34 with 377 saves and a 2.89 ERA (294 ER/917.0 IP) with a 1.11 WHIP in 777 major league appearances, all but 29 in relief.
Updated 1:28pm CDT – According to Joel Sherman, the Cubs signed Joe Nathan for the Major League minimum of $507,500. Nathan will receive a pro-rated salary of the MLB minimum if he works his way back to the big leagues. Sherman reported Nathan’s deal includes “plenty of performance bonuses.” Nathan is expected to continue his rehab at the Cubs’ complex in Mesa.
Updated 5:00pm CDT – According to Jon Heyman, Joe Nathan’s deal includes a team option for the 2017 season that “can convert to a mutual option based on performance.”
Updated 5:05pm CDT – Jon Heyman reported Joe Nathan can earn up to $2.4 million through performance bonuses this season. Nathan’s contract calls for $4.6 million incentives package on the team option for the 2017 season.