He's certainly old.
As has been widely expected for the past several weeks, the Cubs made things official today when they called Joe Nathan up from AAA Iowa. Nathan, of course, had been rehabbing in the Cubs system from the Tommy John surgery that he underwent last season, after having signed a MLB deal with Chicago back in May. Even after shaking things up with the Mike Montgomery addition, Theo and Co. aren't going to sit back on their heels - bullpens are volatile, after all.
The 41-year old Nathan provides a long track record of success as an upper echelon closer; that said, his age was starting to show before he went under the knife for a second time. His most recent action came with the Detroit Tigers:
Here is an "artist's" rendering of the pitcher arriving to the ballpark this afternoon. Hopefully, the guys isn't only attempting this comeback for some doll.
Hopefully, good old reliable Nathan formerly of Detroit can hold back father time for a little while longer and help solidify a bullpen that's been rather piecemeal this summer. He definitely won't be unseating Hector Rondon from the closer's role; but, it would be nice to have another trustworthy arm available for late-inning, high-leverage situations to go along with Pedro Strop.
After this season, he can go back to worrying about running the oldest established permanent floating crap game in New York... or whatever he does with his free time.
Well, unless Nathan sticks around, performs well and earns a spot in Topps' update checklist as a Northsider (fingers crossed), I'll be content to allow this 2005 Donruss single represent Joe in my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection. First of all, despite my love of puns and clever wordplay, when I hear Nathan's name, I associate him more with Minnesota than I do Detroit (or San Francisco or Texas). Furthermore, I quite enjoy this posed spring training shot, what with the perfect blue sky and green grass background being unencumbered by an appropriately simple design.
Nathan during his rehab stint with AA Tennessee, image courtesy of The Star Tribune
Even with these last two relief pitching-centered roster moves, the Cubs will likely continue tinkering. Former Oriole Brian Matusz has been pitching well in the minors since signing with Chicago a little more than a month ago and will likely get a chance to earn his Big League keep again in the near future. Meanwhile, the non-waiver trading deadline is coming up in a little more than a week and you just never know what's going to happen before then.
Will the Cubs still be targeting Yankees arms Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman, as has been rumored incessantly? We shall see.
In the meantime, here's hoping Nathan (Formerly of) Detroit seizes this opportunity and proves that he still has meaningful inning left in his surgically repaired arm. That development would go a long way towards fixing the only glaring weak spot on this roster. That way, we can tell New York to go ahead and take a hike with their unreasonable, Kyle Schwarber-centered demands.