Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tigers sign Valverde

The Tigers have signed free agent closer Jose Valverde to a two year $ 14 million contract with an option for a third year. The Tigers needed a veteran reliever after losing Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney to free agency. Valverde is a talented closer but he comes at a fairly steep price. Since he was a type A free agent, the Tigers will have to surrender their first round pick (the 19th overall pick) in the first year player draft.

This is a repeat from my earlier article but Valverde posted a 2.33 ERA and 56/21 K/BB ratio in 52 games last year. He was 25 for 29 in save situations in 2009 and 116 for 134 (87%) over the last three years. According to The Bill James Handbook, he had 41 clean outings in 52 games last year. A clean outing is any appearance in which a reliever does not allow a run or an inherited run to score. His 79% clean outing percentage compared favorably to Fernando Rodney (70%), Brandon Lyon (69%) and the MLB average (64%) in 2009.

Given the moves the Tigers have made to trim payroll and get younger this winter, giving up a first round pick for an expensive closer is a rather curious move. Valverde probably gives them their most talented reliever since Joel Zumaya in 2006 but the question is: will there be enough leads for him to protect with their offense?

9 comments:

  1. I think the short answer at the moment is "no."

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  2. Just a brutal signing. Incredibly disappointing in this market to spend that much and lose the draft pick. It's time to move on from Dave Dombrowski at this point.

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  3. It's been a strange off-season. This could be an Illitch PR move. Fans are not happy about the Granderson/Polanco moves and Henning said today in his chat that ticket sales are down. This could be a move to appease the fans. Heyman from SI is now saying Damon could be next.

    Lee

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  4. From a fan's point of view it is fun watching Raburn and Thomas gun down runners with their arms- even if those two are brutal when the ball gets near the wall.

    Watching Damon take average routes to most balls and not hold runners- where is the fun in that?

    Of course maybe Damon get get the run back in the bottom of the inning.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jeff I agree with you. I'd rather watch Raburn and Thomas than Damon. When trying to sell tickets though I think Damon would appeal to more casual fans.

    I actually think Damon wouldn't be a bad pick up for ONE YEAR if they could somehow swing that. Guillen is bound to get hurt so Damon would take his at bats and the young players would still play.

    Lee

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  6. If the Tigers win 75 to 85 games, that's about 45-55 save opps for Valverde. The Tigers won't be winning games by wide margins. A lot of 1 and 2 run games are on the way.

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  7. Keith , you are correct. There will always be a lot of opportunities for a good reliever on any team. The question is does Valverde increase their chances of winning the division enough to warrant giving up a draft pick. If they do not improve their offense, I'm not sure it will be.

    Lee

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  8. Unfortunately the nature of Detroit's offense, there won't be a lot of 8-0 games, so at the very least there should be save situations.

    on the other hand, for the last few years people thought the Tigers had an explosive offense and didn't, maybe this year will be different

    If you are Justin Verlander, you might be glad the big cats have someone who can hold his leads --- with out him pitching complete games

    Titus T

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  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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