The Minnesota Twins have reportedly declined their club option on close Joe Nathan, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
"I spoke with Joe and his agent this morning, and expressed our interest in re-signing Joe,” general manager Bill Smith said according to the site. “We will remain in contact with them as we move forward into the free agent process."
Had the team picked up Nathan’s option, they would be faced with paying him $12.5 million this season, instead they will pay him a $2 million buyout. Nathan’s option came at the end of a four-year deal that paid him $47 million in salary from 2008 to 2011.
The 36-year-old missed the entirety of 2010 due to Tommy John surgery. In his return in 2011, the one time dominant closer struggled, posting a 4.84 ERA in 48 games. From 2004-2009, Nathan was one of the best closers in baseball, recording at least 36-or-more saves each season in that stretch. In his 11 year career, Nathan has posted a 2.87 ERA while collecting 261 saves.