Closer Joe Nathan ran through the Texas Rangers' offseason shopping list Thursday like a member of the front office. He knows they need catchers, an outfielder, more power and he knows they must sort out the rotation and bullpen.
Nathan accepts that in "sorting out" that pen, financial considerations are involved.
“I know they have a surplus of arms in the bullpen and I know the business side of it,” Nathan said. “You’re trying to get as much money as you can to strengthen your club, so they may want to spend that money somewhere else. They have some work to do to piece some holes together.”
Nathan, who turns 39 on Nov. 22, said he's looking for a two-year deal and believes he's earned it after two solid seasons in Texas. But with a budget that general manager Jon Daniels said isn't going up from last year, do the Rangers want to risk Nathan accepting a $9 million option (he has the right to decline it after finishing 55 games in 2013)? Do they want to sign a 39-year-old reliever to a two-year deal?
This club has holes, as Nathan mentioned, and they'd likely want to stay as financially flexible as they can. Tying up that money in two years of Nathan or even one at $9 million seems doubtful, with cheaper options like Joakim Soria and Tanner Scheppers on the roster.
Nathan made it clear he wants to stay in Texas. He wants to be on a winner and knows the organization is doing what it can to continue to win and reach the next level. But he also knows they've got tough decisions to make and that going younger and more inexpensive at the closer's position may be one of those.