Joe Nathan RP DET 9 Days

GM Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday that he expects Nathan to open 2015 as the Tigers' closer, James Schmehl of MLive.com reports.

Dombrowski added the caveat that performance will ultimately dictate roles, but it sounds like he's confident the 39-year-old right-hander will secure the ninth-inning job in the spring. Despite an absolutely dismal first half from Nathan (5.61 ERA), the Tigers stuck with him as closer all year, resulting his ninth 35-plus save campaign in his last 10 seasons.

Joe Nathan RP DET 28 Days

Nathan had one of his best outings of the season against Minnesota on Thursday, retiring the side with two strikeouts, to earn his 34th save of the season.

Nathan threw eight pitches, all for strikes, making quick work of the Twins, in a much-needed clean outing. It's been a bumpy ride for Nathan this year, but he remains the man in the ninth inning for Detroit.

Joe Nathan RP DET 1 Month

Nathan was charged with his seventh blown save of the season Tuesday, giving up two earned runs on two hits and a walk, including a walk-off infield single to Aaron Hicks in the bottom of the ninth.

It would be surprising if the Tigers changed any of the relievers' roles at this stage in the season, so despite his significant struggles, owners looking for saves would still be wise to hold onto Nathan.

Joe Nathan RP DET 1 Month

Nathan notched his 30th save of the season Tuesday against the Royals, but it wasn't without drama, as he allowed two baserunners before recording his second out of the ninth inning.

With runners on first and second and one out in a two-run game, Nathan was able to pick Jarrod Dyson off at second base, making the save much more manageable. He allowed two hits and recorded two strikeouts, but still kept his pitch count under 20 (18), so he should be available again Wednesday, should the situation arise.

Joe Nathan RP DET 1 Month

Nathan was unavailable the past few days due to elbow soreness, but is available Monday, Matthew B. Mowery of the Oakland Press reports.

Nathan may have been unavailable the past few days, but the team was never in a situation where they needed him. The 39-year-old has struggled in the closer role for the Tigers this season, posting a 5.04 ERA and 1.54 WHIP while blowing six saves. His K/IP ratio has also dipped below one for the first time in three seasons (0.98). At any rate, he will likely continue as the Tigers' closer for the remainder of this season, and is under contract for another, so it will be interesting to see what the team decides to do with him in the offseason.

Joe Nathan RP DET 2 Months

Nathan claimed his 26th save of the season Tuesday vs. the Rays, giving up one run in the bottom 11th inning in the 8-6 victory.

Yet again, Nathan made things difficult on himself despite a three-run cushion, yielding two singles and a walk before striking out Sean Rodriguez to end the threat. Fortunately for Nathan, top setup man and presumptive closer-in-waiting Joba Chamberlain blew a lead earlier in the game, likely keeping the ninth-inning job his for now.

Joe Nathan RP DET 2 Months

Nathan's job as the Tigers closer would appear to be in serious jeopardy after he notched his sixth blown save of the season Saturday against the Jays, giving up a run on two hits and two walks while recording just one out.

He ruined an eight-inning gem from Max Scherzer, and the calls for Nathan's removal from the ninth inning role in Detroit are at a fever pitch. Meanwhile, Joakim Soria left Saturday's game in the 10th inning with a lower back injury, so that obvious replacement may no longer be readily available for manager Brad Ausmus. Continue to monitor the situation, but it would certainly not be surprising for the Tigers to announce that Nathan is no longer the closer in the coming days.

Joe Nathan RP DET 3 Months

Nathan made things interesting, but managed a scoreless ninth inning to record his 24th save. He allowed a hit, two walks, and struck out one.

Nathan continues to struggle, needing 26 pitches (only 12 for strikes) to put away Toronto. He sports a balky 5.18 ERA and hasn't had many easy save conversions. The future Hall-of-Famer will continue to get the ball as long as he manages to get the job done on most nights, but he's clearly not the sure thing he has been over his stellar career.

Joe Nathan RP DET 3 Months

Joe Nathan struck out the side to emphatically shut out the lights on the Angels in a 6-4 Thursday victory.

He did so as new Dave Dombrowski toy Joakim Soria looked on from the bullpen area. This was the second time this season that Nathan has struck out the side. Nathan toted an embarrassing 6.23 ERA from the ballpark after July 19's blown save against the Indians, but he's struck out five and given up just one hit and no walks in three consecutive shutout appearances. As long as he keeps stringing together scoreless appearances, Brad Ausmus will keep trotting Nathan out in the ninth. If Nathan returns to his June form (9.00 ERA), however, it will be Soria time in Detroit.

Joe Nathan RP DET 3 Months

Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said Joe Nathan will remain the Tigers' closer despite Wednesday's trade for Joakim Soria, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck.

It was a legitimate question, as Nathan owns a 5.89 ERA and five blown saves on the year. The right-hander has been better in July, though, having been scored upon in just one of his seven appearances. Soria will presumably hold down a setup role with his new club, but he will be looming if Nathan falters in the closer role going forward.