Jim Leyland’s closer by committee may see a familiar face tossed into the fold in the near future. Patrick Reusse of 1500 ESPN reports that the Detroit Tigers have signed Jose Valverde to a minor league contract.
Valverde, 35, served as the Tigers closer for the past three seasons, saving 110 games. The right-hander lost his grasp on the closer’s role in 2012 after struggling in the post-season. The Tigers had made it known that re-signing Valverde was not in their plans this past winter, but their tune appears to have changed.
The Tigers opened the season with Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit, and Al Alburquerque set to share ninth inning duties. Coke picked up the loss in blown save chance versus the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.
It’s too early to panic over Leyland’s committee, but the potential addition of Valverde will certainly rally the alarmist set. Given his playoff performance, Valverde will have some work to do to recapture the confidence of Leyland and the Tigers.
Valverde saved 35 games in 40 opportunities in 2012. He posted a 3.78 ERA and a career low 6.26 K/9.