Joe Nathan '97 signs two-year deal with Detroit Tigers

Joe Nathan '97 during the 2013 MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field
 
Joe Nathan '97 during the 2013 MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field
 
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Dec. 4, 2013

DETROIT - Stony Brook University alumnus and former #Seawolves baseball star Joe Nathan '97 will continue his Major League career in the Motor City as the six-time MLB All-Star has signed a two-year, free agent contract with the Detroit Tigers, the team announced Wednesday.

The contract includes a club option for the 2016 season. Nathan joins his fourth Major League club after five seasons with the San Francisco Giants (1999-03), eight seasons with the Minnesota Twins (2004-11) and two years with the Texas Rangers (2012-13).

"We are pleased to be adding a premier closer to our ballclub," said Tigers President, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager David Dombrowski in a statement. "Joe solidifies the back end of our bullpen and fills what we identified as a big need on our pitching staff."

Nathan is coming off an outstanding 2013 season in which he compiled a 6-2 record, 1.39 ERA and 43 saves in 46 save opportunities. He struck out 73 batters and only walked 22 in 64-2/3 innings pitched. He was named to his sixth MLB All-Star Game in 2013 and earned the save in the game, played at Citi Field in front of his hometown fans.

In his MLB career, Nathan has 341 saves, a 2.76 ERA and 912 strikeouts in 858-2/3 innings pitched. He has finished in the top 10 of the American League in saves eight times, including in 2009 when he had a career-high 47. Nathan has converted 90 percent of his save chances over his career, which marks the highest conversion rate of any active Major League pitcher with at least 200 career saves. He is tied for 10th on the all-time Major League saves list with his 341 saves. Once the 2014 season commences, he will be the league's active leader in career saves.

Nathan was a two-time Academic All-American at Stony Brook and hit .378 in his time with the Seawolves and was also inducted into the Stony Brook Athletics Hall of Fame on Dec. 6, 2006, when he became the first former Stony Brook student-athlete to have his number retired. Stony Brook renamed its baseball facility Joe Nathan Field after Nathan donated the lead gift that led to the park's renovation.