FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins won't have to worry about finding a future closer anytime soon.
The team announced on Monday that it has agreed to terms with closer Joe Nathan on a contract extension through 2011. The deal also includes a club option for '12.
The financial terms of the deal were not immediately released, although it is believed to be worth between $11-$12 million per year.
Those numbers would put Nathan's contract in the same price range as closer Francisco Cordero, who signed a four-year, $46 million contract that includes a fifth-year option, with the Reds this past offseason. The contracts for Cordero and Mariano Rivera, who re-signed with the Yankees for three years and $45 million, were credited with setting a new bar on the market for closers.
The Twins first approached Nathan's agent, Dave Pepe, regarding an extension in early February. The two sides went through a brief stalemate period before talks heated up again recently.
There had been indications earlier this offseason that the Twins might look to trade Nathan after Johan Santana was dealt to the Mets. But the decision was made to try to secure the closer position for the next few seasons.
Nathan, 33, has recorded 160 saves since becoming the Twins' closer at the start of the 2004 season. That puts him in a tie with Rivera for the most saves in the American League during that span. He's also the first pitcher in Twins history to record 36 or more saves in four consecutive seasons.
In nine innings so far this spring, Nathan has posted a 1.00 ERA and held opponents to a .167 batting average.