Mar 9, 2014; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets manager Terry Collins (10) fist bumps relief pitcher Jose Valverde (47) after a successful inning in spring training action at Tradition Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
And you thought the Detroit Tigers had bullpen problems.
The New York Mets confirmed today that Jose Valverde will make their Opening Day roster and will serve as the team’s primary setup man.
Valverde has put up decent spring numbers with the Mets this month — a 3.00 ERA with seven strikeouts in nine innings — but we’re talking about a small sample, and nothing overwhelming enough to make me forget about the complete lack of stuff he displayed in his brief comeback with the Tigers last season (remember the six home runs he allowed in his 19.1 innings?).
I didn’t actually view any of Valverde’s outings this spring, so maybe he magically resurrected his former self, but I’m going to set the odds to that as being “highly unlikely”. I won’t pretend to be intimate with the Mets’ bullpen situation, but I could probably find them a couple dozen pitchers who would be better suited to pitch high-leverage innings in the major leagues at this point in their respective careers.
We know that there were reports of Valverde NOT looking good early in spring action, but perhaps manager Terry Collins has seen a different side of Papa Grande. Or perhaps he (like Jim Leyland) simply prefer experience over skill in the late innings.
Whatever the story, I’m glad it’s them and not us.