According to a tweet from Yahoo’s Tim Brown, the Tigers have agreed in principle to a two year contract with former Astros Closer Jose Valverde. The deal, pending a physical, is for $14 MM and includes a third year option at $9 MM.
If you haven’t already read my thoughts on this matter, please refer to my post, written yesterday, at the Detroit Tigers Den. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
If you are too lazy to click over there, I’ll sum up my feelings here: DAMMIT!!!
Don’t misunderstand, I think Valverde is a fine reliever, and I’m glad the Tigers feel they are in a position to add to the payroll and solidify the bullpen. Make no mistake, Valverde is as good as it gets for a closer not named Nathan or Rivera (Career Numbers- 1.168 WHIP, 11 K/9, 3:1 K:BB). That said, I hate losing the draft pick, and I hate that the Tigers seemed to have switched horses mid-stream, so to speak.
Wasn’t it just a month ago that Dave Dombrowski traded two young stars in order to clear some payroll? If this is how he planned on using the spare cash, I’m a bit disappointed. Sure, the pitching staff appears to be set for a while, but where exactly, do they think the runs are going to come from?
If there was a spare $7 MM laying around, I sure would have liked to see them try to add a veteran LH hitter to use when Carlos Guillen breaks down again, and he will.
As it stands, If Austin Jackson can hit big league pitching, you are looking at a center field combo of Ryan Raburn and Clete Thomas. Thomas isn’t a good hitter and Raburn can’t handle center defensively. Heck he can barely handle left. Not to mention that the 40-man roster was already full, so in addition to losing the draft pick, the Tigers will also have to designate a player for assignment and open up the very real possibility of losing said player to a waiver claim.
But, it appears the deal is done, so I guess I’ll try to focus on the bright side of life. Valverde is a significant upgrade to Fernando Rodney. He’s much better than Joel Zumaya or Ryan Perry in the ninth. As I said before, he’s better than just about anyone in baseball in the closer’s role. So hopefully, after years of Todd Jones and Rodney, Tigers fans can finally stop riding the ninth inning roller coaster. Which would be nice, for a change.
Here’s hoping for a whole host of 2-1 and 3-2 games, ’cause the Tigers are gonna have trouble scoring runs.