I am not going to lie, half of my motivation for typing up this post right now is that I desperately want to use that "punny," Guys and Dolls-referencing headline. I am not the least bit sorry either - that is pure gold, dammit.
In case you missed it, yesterday afternoon, the Cubs signed rehabbing, former All-Star closer Joe Nathan to a Major League deal. The former Tiger and long-time Twins stopper has been recuperating from Tommy John surgery that he underwent early last season.
The idea behind this move is that relief depth is always a necessity - even if you have a stable, productive bullpen, you really don't. Bullpens are fungible and health is always a question. If all of his rehab goes as planned, Nathan could offer a nice, shot in the arm, type bullpen option for the late innings. After all, before the injury bug bit him in Detroit, Joe was an elite closer.
That said, good old reliable Nathan is just that - kinda old. In fact, the 41 year old reliever is now the oldest player in the Cubs' entire system and he hasn't had a fully healthy, productive season since 2013; thus, there's a strong chance that he simply ends up being this year's version of Rafael Soriano. By that, I mean formerly top-notch reliever who has absolutely nothing left in the tank and bombs out terribly on the mound.
Of course, this deal is low risk/high reward - Nathan is getting the MLB minimum (prorated, at that) and doesn't even cost a roster spot until he's healthy (he was immediately placed on the 60-day DL). Basically, it's costing the Cubs almost nothing to add a six-time All-Star to their bullpen mix.
These are the kinds of moves that every team rolls the dice on and, really, why not? What do they have to lose? Fingers crossed that this dude with 377 career saves can return to the form he had in Minnesota and Texas. If you combine an effective, not even prime, Nathan with Strop, Grimm, Rondon & co. in the Cubs 'pen, opposing teams might be playing 5 or 6 inning games.
Now, as you can see, I have plenty of Joe Nathan cards in my possession already; so, if everything goes as planned and Nathan joins the Cubs at their target of late July, I have several options for adding him to my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection. I have to believe that this coagulation is due to his six-time All-Star status, the meat of his career falling during my collecting prime and the fact that I've never traded with a Twins fan (if anyone wants to fix that, let me know).
Good luck on your rehab Joe - here's hoping that everything goes as planned and you're donning a Cubs uniform before the month of July is out. Perhaps you and Grampa Rossy can bond and use your senior citizen battery powers to mow down the rest of the National League!
We shall see.