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Twins Lock up Closer Nathan for Four Years

The Minnesota Twins Signed Closer Joe Nathan to a four-year, $47 million contract Monday, reporter the Pioneer Presshttp://www.twincities.com//ci_8686162?IADID=Search-www.twincities.com-www.twincities.com.

The deal will make Nathan, 33, the second highest paid closer in all of baseball, only behind Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees. If any closer deserves that kind of money though, its Nathan, who went 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA and 37 saves last season. Since 2004 he has recorded 160 saves for the Twins, which ties him for the leagues best over that period of time with Rivera.

Nathan was in the final year of his previous deal, which was set to pay him $6 million. That will now be replaced by the $11.25 million he is set to make in each year of this new contract. The deal also includes a $12.5 million team option for 2012. The Twins had plenty of money to use to lock up Nathan after the departure of Johan Santana, Torii Hunter and Carlos Silva, which left the team significantly under their budgeted payroll.

The Twins now have four major components of their team locked up through 2010, when the new ballpark open. They include Joe Mauer, Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau and Nathan.

Nathan cites manager Ron Gardenhire and Rick Anderson as reason why he wanted to remain a Twin, according to the Associated Press.

"With the way they handle the pitchers here, they take care of us," Nathan said. "They worry more about careers than they do seasons. They think long term more than they do short term." (Associated Press)