Twins Decline Option on Team’s All-Time Saves Leader Joe Nathan

Joe Nathan #36 of the Minnesota Twins
Joe Nathan #36 of the Minnesota Twins. Photographer: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Minnesota Twins declined a $12.5 million option on reliever Joe Nathan’s contract and still may bring their all-times saves leader back next season, General Manager Bill Smith said.

Nathan, 36, will become a free agent when the Twins exercise a $2 million buyout in his contract, the team said on its website. Smith said he’s spoken with Nathan and his agent about signing him to a new deal.

Nathan has 260 saves over seven seasons with the Twins, including a career-high 47 in 2009.

Nathan missed the 2010 season after ligament-replacement surgery and returned this year to go 2-1 with a 4.84 earned run average in 48 relief appearances. He suffered a setback related to his elbow surgery in May and then converted 11 of 12 save opportunities after returning in June.

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