The story is breaking from several sources today that former Detroit Tiger closer, Jose Valverde is being pursued by the New York Mets. Being a closer is no lock for Valverde as MLB Trade Rumors is also reporting the Jose Valverde is the Mets’ second or even third choice for the closer job in the Big Apple. So why has Papa Grande’s stock fallen so far? As a Tiger fan you will probably never forget Jose Valverde’s stretch run flame out which left our Detroit Tigers scrambling to find a closer in the 2012 World Series. But on the surface his 2012 numbers don’t look too bad. 3.78 ERA and 35 saves is usually enough to garner a lot of interest from clubs in need of a fireman. The problem is that Valverde was more arsonist than fire man down the stretch.
Closers have been through this type of thing before and rebounded, haven’t they? Take Fernando Rodney for example. In 2011 he had a 4.50 ERA and 3 saves for the Los Angeles Angels following a disappointing 2010 campaign where he only managed 15 saves. So why is Valverde having trouble finding a job? Is Scott Boras asking too much? Are teams wary of Papa Grande’s on-field antics?
At least in the Detroit Tigers case, the move away from Jose Valverde was a smart one. With a skyrocketing payroll and other closer options available in Joaquin Benoit and Phil Coke, it is easy to take a gamble on rookie Bruce Rondon. If Rondon fails then plan B and C are available. But for a team in need of closer, why wouldn’t you take a flyer on a guy in hopes he can reclaim his 9th inning dominance?
The Mets are the only team that has expressed serious interest so far this off-season . That is not likely to change for awhile considering Brian Wilson remains unsigned. Don’t worry Valverde fans, The Big Potato will probably make a team out of spring training and before you know you will see Papa Grande doing his dance once again.