FORT MYERS, Fla. Joe Nathan is staying with the Minnesota Twins rather than following Johan Santana, Torii Hunter and Carlos Silva out of town.
Nathan and the Twins agreed to terms Monday on a $47 million, four-year contract, a deal that includes a 2012 club option on the 33-year-old closer.
The Twins weren't going to get rid of the two-time All-Star, not after deciding to deal Santana and watching Hunter and Silva depart as free agents during the offseason.
"It was definitely a priority for us," assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "I think a lot of people thought, when it became clear we were going to trade Johan Santana, that Joe was next. That wasn't the case at all. We look at Joe as a key member of the core of this ballclub. We had to take care of some other things first ... but when the time was right we did it. And it was well worth it."
Nathan was slated to make $6 million in 2008, far less than several ace relievers around the majors. Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees got a $45 million, three-year contract in November, and Francisco Cordero signed a $46 million, four-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds after becoming a free agent. With Francisco Rodriguez of the Los Angeles Angels eligible for free agency after this season, the price for closers could soar even higher.