Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The New Tigers Closer is...Jose Valverde

The Tigers game with the Royals has been postponed tonight, but they were busy off the field today.  First, the team announced that rookie reliever Bruce Rondon has been recalled from Triple-A Toledo to replace Octavio Dotel who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with an inflamed elbow.  Later, they signed former closer Jose Valverde to a major league contract and optioned Brayan Villarreal to Toledo.

Jon Morosi just tweeted that Valverde is the new closer.  Not after pitching a couple games, but right away as in tomorrow night:
Jon Morosi@jonmorosi 3m
Meet the Tigers’ new closer, same as the Tigers’ old closer – Jose Valverde.
The Tigers are bringing back Valverde after only three innings with High-A Lakeland. On the surface, this looks a bit like a desperation move.  His fastball had lost a lot of zip in the last couple of seasons and he became increasingly reluctant to throw his splitter.  It resulted in a mediocre regular season in 2012 with a 3.78 ERA and 6.3 strikeouts per nine innings (down from a career rate of around 10).  And nobody needs to be reminded of his embarrassing performance in the playoffs.

Reports are that Valverde is throwing harder this spring and that he has regained confidence in his splitter.  I am not very optimistic about this move, but I won't write him off until we get a chance to see him pitch.

According to the Detroit Free Press. manager Jim Leyland said earlier today that Rondon would not close:
“I’d like to break him in a little bit easier, maybe the sixth inning or seven inning to start with,” Leyland said. “He’s not going to be the closer to start with, as we speak. That doesn’t mean he would never close a game, that just means right now I want to break him in, get his feet wet in the big leagues a little bit and see what he looks like.”
While general manager Dave Dombrowski raved about Rondon all winter, Leyland has spoken more conservatively about the right-handed flame thrower's talents.  Thus, it is not surprising that he won't be thrust into the closer role. Rondon had been pitching well for the MudHens though allowing no runs and posting a 9/2 K/BB ratio in 7 2/3 innings

1 comment:

  1. Hey this guy is not so bad after his first outing!



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