Detroit's decision to decline the option, which costs the team a $1 million buyout, was not a surprise. Nathan faced only one batter this year and missed the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his pitching elbow.
Nathan signed with the Tigers before the 2014 season. He had 35 saves that year but posted a 4.81 ERA. The injury cost him any chance to rebound in 2015.
The Tigers also announced Tuesday that the selected the contract of right-hander Luis Cessa from Triple-A Toledo. Detroit acquired him as part of the deal in July that sent Yoenis Cespedes to the New York Mets.