June 17, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Jose Valverde (46) in the dugout before the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
It wasn’t really a question of if, more a question of when. I’m just surprised it took this long. The Detroit Tigers announced this afternoon that they have designated closer Jose Valverde for assignment. The DFA gives the Tigers 10 days to release him, trade him, or put him through waivers. According to the reports, the Tigers have spoken to Valverde about going to the minor leagues to work on things:
"If he clears waivers, Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said the club will offer the 35-year-old an opportunity to remain in the organization and pitch in Triple-A Toledo. Dombrowski said Valverde has not informed the team if he will accept the assignment."
I’m not sure it makes much difference because it would take extreme circumstances for the team to trust him again (especially in pressure situations), but the Tigers don’t really have anything to lose by allowing him to pitch in the minors.
Valverde finishes his 2013 campaign with a 5.59 ERA in 20 appearances. His strikeouts were up back up near his previous norms as a Tiger, and he was walking fewer batters than he ever had, but he couldn’t keep the ball in the park, allowing six home runs in his 19 innings. The homers, ultimately, were his demise.
The Tigers will recall Al Alburquerque to take Valverde’s spot in the bullpen. Alburquerque, who was sent to the minors to work on his control, hasn’t stopped issuing the free pass. He’s allowed 13 walks in his 14.1 AAA innings, but, as always, made up for it with an insane strikeout rate — 27 in 14.1 innings.