Tigers bolster bullpen with addition of Nathan

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Updated: 12/03/2013 1:46 pm

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Tigers have continued their busy offseason, reportedly agreeing to a deal with closer Joe Nathan.

Various media outlets, including the Detroit Free Press, indicate a deal is close, while USA Today cited an unidentified person directly involved with the negotiations as saying the pact is for two years.

Nathan saved 43 games this past season for the Texas Rangers while going 6-2 with a 1.39 ERA. After spending seven seasons in Minnesota, Nathan signed with the Rangers in 2011 after missing all of the 2010 season recovering from Tommy John surgery.

In two seasons with Texas, he posted a 2.09 ERA after pitching to a 2.16 ERA in his time with the Twins.

Texas actually exercised the club portion of Nathan's 2014 contract option, but the 38-year-old right-hander voided the player portion of the $9 million deal to test the free agent market.

Signing a closer and revamping the bullpen was a top priority for the Tigers heading into the offseason.

Last year's closer, Joaquin Benoit, is a free agent and the team did not exercise its club option to bring back Jose Veras, while lefty Drew Smyly is likely slated for the starting rotation after the deal that sent Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals for three players Monday night.

Nathan ranks 10th all-time with 341 saves, the most among active pitchers following Mariano Rivera's retirement. He began his career as a starter with San Francisco in 1999 and spent four seasons with the Giants before heading to Minnesota in a trade prior to the 2004 campaign.

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