MILWAUKEE (AP) - The Chicago Cubs agreed Tuesday to a one-year contract with Joe Nathan, a six-time All-Star reliever recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Nathan's deal is for the major league minimum $507,500 this year and gives the Cubs a $1.5 million option for next season. Chicago put the 15-year veteran on the 60-day disabled list as he continues to recover from surgery in April 2015.
"You can never have enough pitching depth," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "I had no idea this was going to happen today. When I saw that, I was obviously very pleased."
The 41-year-old Nathan has 377 career saves, eighth most in major league history. He last pitched on April 6, 2015, in his only appearance that season for the Tigers.
Maddon would not speculate on when Nathan would pitch for the Cubs.
"I have no idea," Maddon said. "I have not spoken with him."
Nathan has $100,000 in games bonuses for this year, $800,000 in games finished bonuses and $1.5 million in roster bonuses. In 2017, the bonus opportunities are $100,000 for games, $1.5 million for games finished and $2.5 million based on roster time.
If Nathan pitches in at least 30 games this year, has at least 75 days on the active major league roster and a medical exam determines he finishes the season uninjured, the option price would increase to $1.75 million and there would be a $125,000 buyout if it is declined. If he also has 30 games finished this year, it would become a $2 million mutual option and include a $250,000 buyout if the club declines.
For 2016, he would get $25,000 each for 15, 20, 25 and 30 games; $100,000 apiece for 10, 15 and 20 games finished; and $250,000 each for 25 and 30 games finished. He also would receive $250,000 apiece for 15 and 30 days on the active roster, and $333,333 each for 45, 60 and 75.
For 2017, he would get $25,000 each for 30, 40, 50 and 60 games; $250,000 apiece for 30, 35, 40 and 45 games finished; and $50,000 each for 50, 55 and 60 games finished. He also would receive $150,000 apiece for 30, 45, 60 and 75 days on the active roster, and $225,000 each for 90, 120, 150 and 180.
Nathan also would get $50,000 for any season he wins the NL comeback player of the year award.
Detroit declined its $10 million option on Nathan in the offseason. He also has pitched for San Francisco, Minnesota and Texas.