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.