So it sounds like Joe Nathan, one of the elite closers in baseball, is heading toward the inevitable Tommy John surgery after suffering a “significant tear” in his throwing elbow.
It’s never good when you lose a guy who has had no less than 36 saves and no worse than a 2.70 ERA since taking over as Minnesota’s full-time closer in 2004.
Nathan’s consistency as a closer is somewhat remarkable.
But Twins fans need to remember something: Closers come and go as easily as Tiger Woods mistresses.
It’s true. In his time in the Giants organization before being traded to Minnesota, Nathan was pretty much nothing more than a mediocre starter. Then, bam! He’s a lights out closer.
Think of all the closers that have had a couple really lights out years only to fall of quickly: Mark Wohlers, LaTroy Hawkins, Chad Cordero, Joe Borowski.
Sure, none of those names are in the same league as Nathan.
But think about it, solid closers come from all over the place.
In the Twins bullpen I see 6-foot-11 Jon Rauch, who has some closing experience. He could be serviceable. And Matt Guerrier went 5-1 last season with 33 holds and a 2.36 ERA.
Again, guys guy from mediocre to nice closer all the time. Guerrier is as good a candidate as anybody. In all likelihood, Minnesota’s season won’t be a miserable failure because Nathan’s arm is no good.