Joe Nathan has re-signed with the Twins for four more years (a phrase that makes me think of Bush and feel queasy), and the deal is valued at $47 million. It’s a nice move for the Twins, considering Nathan is one of the best closers on the planet, but he’ll be 37 in the final year of his deal, and investing so much in a closer for a small market team is extrememly risky. For a large market team it would be a no-brainer (well, not quite, since anything no-brainerish is likely to end up being a rash decision), but if the Twins are going to trade the best pitcher on the planet for a grab bag of mediocrity then re-signing a luxury item for big money–and an older model at that–doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of their moves this offseason. GM Bill Smith is off to a curious start to say the least.
Elsewhere, the San Antonio Spurs have re-signed sharpshooter Brent Barry a month after trading him to the Sonics, along with a first-round pick and Francisco Elson, for Kurt Thomas. It’s a nice, if not evasive, move for the Spurs. Since the Celtics pulled a fast one of the league a few years ago and used Gary Payton’s contract to complete a deal, only to re-sign him shortly thereafter with some cooperation from their trade partners, the league has instituted a rule stating that a team cannot re-sign a player it has traded during the season until thirty days have passed. The spirit of the rule is also important, as the initial Jason Kidd to Dallas trade involved Jerry Stackhouse and some sketchiness, but once Stack ran his mouth he couldn’t be included in the deal if he wanted to return to Big D in time for the playoffs. So, while techincally legal, and apparently not premeditated, this deal still doesn’t feel right. Except for on the court, where Barry’s sniper-like antics from deep, as well as anywhere else on the court, will help open things up for the Spurs and give them a better shot at defending their title.