When the Texas Rangers signed Joe Nathan last November there was a fair amount of head scratching and hand wringing over bringing in a 37 year old pitcher only a year removed from Tommy John surgery and coming off a shaky 2011 season. From an outsider's perspective, the move seemed more related to placating traditional baseball minds with a "proven" closer than optimal talent acquisition. At best, Joe Nathan was expected to be no more than the third best reliever on the team boasting Mike Adams and Alexi Ogando in late inning roles. Joe Nathan's first week as the closer saw him give up runs in two of four appearances leading to two Rangers losses, including a blown save with a two run lead in the 9th. Coupled with a terrible spring training, everyone's worst fears were being realized and questions about Nathan being able to hold down the closer's job were voiced by fans and beat writers. Ron Washington gave Joe a vote of confidence and told everyone not to worry and be patient. Now, two months later, Joe Nathan has given up only a single earned run in 20.2 innings since that first week. That's an 0.44 ERA over a two month period. That is... amazing. Joe Nathan hasn't been merely acceptable or adequate or the third best reliever in bullpen. He has been dominant... and has performed better than any other member of the Rangers' loaded bullpen.
Joe Nathan Has Been Really Good
Lone Star Ball | Jun 11