The Twins cut ties with four-time All-Star closer Joe Nathan at least temporarily on Tuesday, declining his $12.5 million option for next year, choosing instead to pay him a $2 million buyout.

It was an expected move that makes Nathan a free agent, just like Matt Capps, Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel.

All four are expected to test the market this fall, but general manager Bill Smith told Nathan on Tuesday that the Twins still have interest in re-signing him.

"This didn't come as a surprise," Nathan said. "Now that we're here, we're excited about free agency.

"Obviously the Twins have given me a wonderful opportunity, and this doesn't mean the talks are dead, but I'm definitely going to explore free agency and see what the market is like."