Joe Nathan thanks fans, eyes 2-year deal

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Former Texas Rangers closer Joe Nathan is thankful he got a chance to play for two seasons at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, but believes that the teams calling him to consider two-year deals won't include the Rangers.

Nathan heaped praise on the Rangers' fans and talked about how much he enjoyed closing games in Texas.

"Baseball in Texas was great," Nathan said Sunday. "The organization treats the player second to none. They do it right. The city and the fans always showed up. It was loud crowds, and that was fun to come to the ballpark as a player and know we were going to have a good atmosphere. There are some places where you have to find your own energy, and Texas wasn't one of those places. If you felt sluggish at all, the crowd would pick you up."

Texas picked up the option on Nathan's contract, but the 38-year-old closer had the right to decline the $9 million option and did so Friday, making him a free agent. He said he wants a two-year deal and was "hoping" the Rangers would be interested, but understands they have other priorities.

"I’m sure ... they could use this money to better strengthen themselves and use it for holes they can fill," Nathan said. "The bullpen is one area they feel they can afford to lose a guy or two and pick up some cash for something else. I get that. To me, it seems that other clubs are going to call and I don’t think Texas will be one of them."

Nathan has 341 saves, good enough for 10th all time. He was an All-Star in both of his seasons in Texas.