One of the priorities this offseason for the Mets is to shore up their bullpen, which had an underwhelming 4.33 ERA and 1.45 WHIP this past season. Even more specific, the Mets don't have a clear-cut closer, after Bobby Parnell struggled and blew as many saves (six) as he had. Thus, when the Twins decided against picking up his option, Nathan instantly became a name the Mets have to consider in rebuilding their bullpen.
Nathan, a Pine Bush, N.Y., native, was at his alma mater, Stony Brook University, for a dedication ceremony for a baseball field named after him, and in response to a question about whether he would consider an offer from the Amazin's, said (as quoted in Newsday):
"We're definitely not counting any teams out. But obviously, the Mets are going to be on my radar. It's a team I followed growing up around this area. That would be exciting.''
Granted, the soon-to-be 37-year-old missed the 2010 campaign with Tommy John Surgery, and returned in 2011 with a 4.84 ERA and 1.16 WHIP and 14 saves in 17 chances. But, Nathan's velocity was not far off from where it was in 2009 (92.3 mph to 93.6 mph in '09) and his xFIP was a more-respectable 3.96. Further, Nathan should be able to come back even stronger next season, two years removed from the procedure. He's also a four-time All-Star with 261 saves, a 2.87 career ERA and 1.11 WHIP and has plenty of experience -- and the ability to be a mentor in the 'pen.
The Twins did not sign him because they hoped to ink him to a cheaper deal. Cue Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, who will also look to sign cheap options with some upside.
"The dollars are kind of on the back burner,'' he said. "It's all about winning right now. Where I'm at in my career, I just want to be on a club that has a chance to go to the postseason and have a chance to pitch in big games.''
That might be where the problem lies ...