Joe Nathan is underrated. Well, to those outside of Minnesota, he is underrated and seeminly not appreciated. Over on ESPN's Hot Stove Heaters (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/hotstove06/columns/story?id=2763130), they are going through a bunch of different stories. Yesterday was the Bullpen. The Twins was 6th in the Majors according to Sean McAdam.
In there, it contained the following line about about the Angels Bullpen (#3):
"Francisco Rodriguez has led the American League in saves in each of the last two seasons and boasts a ridiculous strikeout ratio (189 in the last 140 1/3 innings). "
Joe Nathan, in his last 138 1/3 innings has the same amount of strikeouts. It confused me how they don't give him more credit. Another line is (and this is an amazing stat to me even though I've seen most of the these blowns saves) that he has only blown 10 saves in the last three years!! K-Rod hs blown 16, Mo Rivera 11 (153 1/3 IP with 135K the last two years), Wagner 12 and Ryan 9 (in just the last two years).
It's scary to see how much he could get on the free agent market - Wagner got paid 10.5 million last year (albeit from the other NY team) and BJ Ryan got an average of nearly 9.5 million - if Terry Ryan doesn't get something done. He's younger than Mo, Wagner and only a year older than BJ Ryan.
What kind of contract should he expect? I would think that Ryan really can't backload it due to Joe being 36/37 at the end of 4/5 year contract to coincide with the new stadium. However, he hsn't shown any signs of slowing down and has been (knock on wood) very healthy since the team picked him up. Also, Neshek, Durbin or Crain could be groomed for the job...
Would he give Minny a home town discount since they rescued him from SF and made him into a closer where he'll be making a lot more money than he ever would of as a middle reliever?