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Report: Tigers, closer Nathan near deal

The SportsXchange

Joe Nathan is on the verge of a contract with the Detroit Tigers, who listed a veteran closer near the top of their offseason needs.

FOX Sports first reported Nathan and the Tigers were wrapping up a multi-year deal. On Monday, reports that talks between Detroit and former San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers closer Brian Wilson had fizzled.

Nathan appeared in 67 games in 2013 with the Texas Rangers and was 6-2 with a 1.39 ERA and 43 saves.

He is three years removed from Tommy John surgery and in 13 seasons with the Giants, Twins and Rangers, posted 341 saves and a 2.67 ERA.

Joaquin Benoit and Jose Veras weren't door-slamming ninth inning relievers in mixed roles with the Tigers in 2013. Detroit went to spring training in February envisioning rookie Bruce Rondon, a flame-thrower who couldn't find the plate, would be the primary closer but he went to Toledo when the Tigers broke camp in March.

That set off a full scramble by general manager Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland to set a pecking order in the bullpen, including re-signing former closer Jose Valverde.
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