It has been decades since the Detroit Tigers have had a lockdown closer. No, that is not writer dramatics; it has really been decades. The Tigers have been known for their roller coaster ride closers who leave fans with numerous medical conditions every season. Seemingly any person thrown into the closer role for the Tigers ended up either losing the job, losing their mind or in the case of Joel Zumaya losing their paycheck due to Guitar Hero injuries. Nothing has ever worked for the Tigers, that is until they finally wrote the big check.
Having a veteran closer who has performed at the highest of levels for the better part of a decade couldn’t be measured in importance. It is like riding in a private jet after spending your whole life riding a Greyhound Bus. No, you can never count out the Tigers’ jinx falling on Joe Nathan, but as it stands Tigers fans can finally catch their breath and not feel like they are going to pass out even during wins. The Tigers finally have a closer who can come in and be expected to fully slam the door without any hesitation — a closer who can deal with the pressures of the postseason.
Joe Nathan has been overshadowed this offseason, but the Tigers organization and its fans will notice him right away once the season begins. The closer position has been one of the reasons why the Tigers haven’t been able to finally break through with a World Series Championship, but this season no one will be able to blame the closer. The Tigers finally have a closer, and he’s a very, very good one.