Never criticize a player for trying to extend his career ...
Joe Nathan, 41, signed a minor league deal Tuesday with the San Francisco Giants. He's pitched a total of 2.1 major league innings the past two years, including three well-spaced appearances for the Chicago Cubs last month before the Cubs, having restocked their bullpen with a series of deadline deals, designated Nathan for assignment in early August.
This brings Nathan back to where his career began, or at least the organization where it began. Presuming he clears the physical, he's to be assigned to the Giants' Double A affiliate, which is in Richmond. Va. (On a side note, it's rare for a West Coast team to have a high minors affiliate that far away.) The idea is that he'll be added to the big club when rosters expand in September, if not sooner.
The Giants, who slipped behind the Dodgers Tuesday night in a tight NL West race, have need for a good bullpen arm. Whether Nathan, eighth on the all-time saves list, meets that description after two Tommy John surgeries is uncertain. I can't imagine that the Giants are going to let that be their biggest relief move this month.