Nathan's excellence carries Twins
Fans can vote closer as DHL's Delivery Man of the Year
MINNEAPOLIS -- The value of having a proven closer was apparent when the Twins signed Joe Nathan to a contract extension this past March.Despite having a young team that was considered to be in the midst of a rebuilding season, the Twins felt that losing a closer of Nathan's caliber would be a huge blow to the confidence and future of the ballclub. "We've got one of the best players at his position in the game, one of the best closers in the game," Twins assistant general manager Rob Anthony said in March. "We didn't want to lose a guy like that."
Nathan earned honors in July as the DHL Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month. He converted all seven of his save opportunities, posting a 0.82 ERA while giving up just three hits in 11 appearances.It was just one of three straight months this season, June-August, that Nathan posted an ERA below 1.00 and collected at least seven saves. With his 38 saves already this season, Nathan is now the only pitcher in Twins history to record 35 or more saves in five consecutive seasons, and it's that type of consistency that his teammates have come to expect from the three-time All-Star. "To have a guy you can rely on and pretty much count on every day, it's just a great feeling for the starters," Nick Blackburn said. "Basically, all you have to do is get the ball to him, and he comes in and does the job."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.