Jose Valverde: Ready to Rejoin the Houston Astros?

Friday November 2nd, 2012

Kyle Holland:  Although postseason baseball is a wonderful time for baseball fans everywhere, the end of the World Series becomes a devastating time. The start of November means no more major league baseball for almost 5 months. Ironically enough though, some fans love the offseason. They enjoy seeing where some of their favorite players will go and who their favorite team will get.

One prime example of these players during the this 2012-13 offseason is the ex-Detroit Tigers closer, Jose Valverde. He enjoyed great success during the 2011 season closing 49 out of 49 save opportunities. The 2012 season wasn’t nearly as impressive, as Valverde “only” saved 35 games. Then September and the postseason rolled around and he just wasn’t himself. On October 10th in game 4 of the ALDS, Valverde blew a 3-1 lead in the ninth against the Oakland A’s. On October 13th in game 1 of the ALCS, although not a save opportunity, Valverde blew a 4-0 lead against the New York Yankees before being pulled.

Jose Valverde became a free agent on October 30, two days after the Tigers got swept by the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. The Tiger publicly announced they are not going to make an attempt to re-sign Valverde. Now the question becomes: where will Jose Valverde end up for Opening Day 2013?

“I don’t know yet. I know I’m a free agent, you know what I mean?” That’s what Valverde said to reporters following game 4.

The Houston Astros seem like a good team for Jose Valverde to join. He has experience in Houston, as he closed there from 2007 to 2009. Chances are that other teams will not be looking into signing Valverde, as not many teams are in desperate need of a closer. Plus Valverde’s asking price will be asking too high, despite his shaky end to the season.

The Astros are going to need all the help they can get in 2013. As part of the upcoming season, the Astros will make the change from the NL Central to the AL West, a very tough division to play in. They will be in the same division as the Oakland A’s (won the AL West in 2012), the Texas Rangers (won the Wild Card in 2012), and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (serious Wild Card contenders in 2012). Plus the Seattle Mariners continue to improve.

Houston is also in need of a closer. Their closer for part of the second-half of 2012, Francisco Cordero, was released on September 10th after blowing his only 3 save opportunities and posting a 19.80 ERA which is atrocious. Epecially for a closer.

The Astros are no doubt going to be pursuing a closer and are going to want to get one for the right price. They may be able to work out a one year deal worth about $5-$8 million with a club option for 2014, plus incentives. This type of contract could be exactly what the Astros are looking for.

One other team that may have some interest in Valverde is the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox bullpen in 2012 got the job done, a 3.88 ERA, but their late inning relievers were inconsistent. Andrew Bailey, their closer was out for almost the entire 2012 campaign with an injury. The Red Sox also used Vicente Padilla in the late inning situations, giving him 5 save opportunities. He walked away with 1 save and finished the season with a 4.50 ERA. Then remember Alfredo Aceves? Jose Valverde seems like he could be a good fit in the Sox bullpen in backing up the incumbent Bailey. Or he could implode. With Jose Valverde, it is either hit or miss. Nothing in-between.

Jose Valverde had a great run in his 3 seasons with the Tigers, only blow 8 saves over that time. Knowing the Tigers won’t re-sign him, he said, “My agent knows what he’s doing. I did my job, now it’s back to my agent.” Valverde loved and appreciated his opportunities and time in Detroit. But as of today, he is ready to start a new chapter in his career. Whether it be in his old stomping grounds in Houston, or a completely new address. Papa Grande has a lot to prove in 2013 and a motivated/determined Valverde could be a very scary sight on the mound in 9th innings to come.

Welcome our newest Baseball Intern, Kyle Holland! You can find Kyle on Twitter (@TheKHolland13) – be sure to follow him and send all your comments! Please e-mail us atmlbeports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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Posted on November 2, 2012, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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