In need of some relief help, the San Francisco Giants are taking a flier on Joe Nathan, who most recently played for the Chicago Cubs this year, tossing two scoreless innings across three outings. In 2015 he totaled one-third of a frame with Detroit before needing Tommy John surgery. He completed 58 innings and held a 4.97 ERA in 2014.
Nathan ranks second on the career active saves list with 377 behind Francisco Rodriguez of the Tigers who has 419. In his short stint with the Cubs at the end of July, Nathan's fastball velocity was sitting at 91.5 miles per hour, just a hair below where it was back in his last full season with Detroit.
Nathan was originally selected by the Giants in the 6th round of the 1995 draft and pitched parts of four seasons (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003) with the team while going 24-10 with a 4.12 ERA. He was traded to the Minnesota Twins along with Francisco Liriano in exchange for A.J. Pierzynski. In his final season with the Giants, he led all relievers with twelve wins and tied Richmond's pitching coach Steve Kline with 78 appearances.
A few years back my boss and I were out for drinks and I noticed that Nathan, then with the Rangers, had walked into the bar. I told my boss of his arrival and he proceeded to say, not terribly quietly, "Joe Nathan? I could take him deep." Roughly ten minutes passed and Nathan came up to the two of us and he says with a smile, "You could take me deep, huh?" He was very friendly about the whole thing and stayed and talked for a few minutes before going back to his friends.
To make room for Nathan on the roster, Cory Taylor was sent from Richmond to San Jose. Nestor Molina was also added to the active roster while Eliezer Zambrano was placed on the disabled list retroactive to August 12.
Joe's number 36 is still available.