Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Valverde returns to closer role with Detroit

Six months after the Tigers bid farewell to Jose Valverde, they welcomed him back Tuesday, signing him to a one-year Major League contract. If they take a lead into the ninth inning Wednesday night, he’ll try to close out a win.

It’s a scenario that seemed impossible entering Spring Training, and seemed improbable even after the Tigers signed Valverde to a minor-league contract on April 4. After Valverde pitched three times for Class A Lakeland the past four days, however, the Tigers were sold on his comeback.

“His stuff has been very good,” team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday night. “We think he’s ready to come in and close games for us.”

madvillain Posted: April 24, 2013 at 02:12 AM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: jose valverde

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. madvillain Posted: April 24, 2013 at 05:34 AM (#4424165)
Up late here in Seattle, some quick thoughts on this from a Michigan transplant non-Tigers fan:

1) Why do this, why now? Papa Grande is a fungible reliever at this point. As fungible as Al Albuquerque or Octavio Dotel or Joaquin Benoit -- this move is just swapping deck chairs.

2) The Tigers are, on paper, really, really good -- but Leyland doesn't manage to it. Leyland is forever thinking that his next "gut feeling" is the one to push them over the top. Whether that's inserting that day's sub in the same batting order as the regular or advocating for Papa Grande as closer or using Phil Coke against RHB.

Thing is, Detroit could pickup 1-4 wins this year by keeping Leyland as the manager but silently replacing all his lineups and in-game decisions with a saber robot. Let Jim puff on his reds during the breaks just insert a Fangraphs algorithm for his lineup moves.

So, this move is stupid imo. I can see the "well what do they have to lose" angle, and that's certainly valid, but I don't think any Tigers fan wants a 100 win roster (on paper) managed like an 85 win one. This is some trifling stuff for a team as talented as this one, and it could do more harm than good.
   2. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: April 24, 2013 at 07:33 AM (#4424178)
10-10-12

Never forget.
   3. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: April 24, 2013 at 07:58 AM (#4424188)

Jim does some things that drive me nuts, but overall he's an excellent manager and I don't really have a problem with this at all. If, as the reports are, Valverde found his stuff again, then we've got a useful guy to pitch the 9th for nothing, and the rest of the bullpen is strengthened. If it's last year's Valverde, he'll get a few chances and then he'll get released. Also, this is an organizational decision, not just the manager's idea.

What I'm really interested to see is how Rondon does in middle relief/setup. He could be Zumaya to Valverde's Todd Jones - blowing guys away in the higher leverage innings while Valverde muddles through in the overrated closer role.
   4. Bug Selig Posted: April 24, 2013 at 08:06 AM (#4424191)
I don't disagree that Valverde is fungible. After all, he had to wait for a late-in-the-game minor league deal so he's inarguably not percieved to have value. The other 3, though, Benoit and Dotel in particular, don't seem to be. If the Tigers released all 3 today, they'd be on somebody else's ML roster by the weekend. Villareal, Downs, guys on the Detroit/Toledo shuttle, sure - but the guys mentioned have value.

I understand the gnashing of teeth that is Detroit sports talk right now (meaning sports fans talking, not necessarily the radio version of "sports talk"). I was as convinced as anybody that the potato was out of starch last fall. However, reports show a rebound in velocity and an acknowledgment that an offspeed pitch isn't an optional thing. The cost is burning an option on Villareal. As long as they're willing to cut bait if the 91mph FB after FB version returns, I think the risk is minimal.
   5. Lassus Posted: April 24, 2013 at 08:11 AM (#4424198)
Downs

Fungible? Downs has been doing great. Looking at the bullpen numbers, I'm a little shocked he's not getting more innings. Sure it's only 8+ innings so far, but even so.
   6. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: April 24, 2013 at 08:14 AM (#4424200)

Alburqurque ain't fungible either. In fact, he's the most valuable reliever mentioned in this thread. Any team would love to add a reliever with a career rate of about 14 K/9 (37% of the batters he's ever faced have struck out) and half a hit allowed per inning.
   7. zonk Posted: April 24, 2013 at 08:15 AM (#4424202)
Carlos Marmol is available!

And he even, ummm.... picked up a win last night and now leads the Cubs with 2 W's!
   8. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: April 24, 2013 at 09:14 AM (#4424235)
If Valverde can go back to his 2011 self it'll be fine. It's probably better for the team for Valverde to pitch the 9th coming in fresh with no men on base. It lets ALAL pitch tough spots, lets Coke pitch in situations he's meant to pitch in, etc. If Valverde can't get guys to swing and miss any more then I hope the team will have a short leash.

The Tigers have convinced themselves there is something magical about the 9th inning. I don't follow other teams as closely, so not sure if this is the norm or not. Obviously it must be for how much Proven Closers get paid.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 24, 2013 at 09:33 AM (#4424248)

Alburqurque ain't fungible either. In fact, he's the most valuable reliever mentioned in this thread. Any team would love to add a reliever with a career rate of about 14 K/9 (37% of the batters he's ever faced have struck out) and half a hit allowed per inning.


I love how this unintentionally (intentionally?) touches on two running jokes about Mike Francesca. Add a joke about sleeping on the job, and you'd perfect the trifecta my friend.
   10. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 24, 2013 at 10:19 AM (#4424286)
What's silly about this is not the decision to bring him back -- he's still an effective pitcher, even with the alarming drop in K rate -- nor is it the decision to make him the closer. It's the "Oh, he's looked good the past few days." We have 200 IP over the last three years to grade him on.

Also, this shows why hyping closers is silly. He had a highly publicized consecutives saves streak two years ago, which was mostly just dumb luck, and now is fighting for a job.

I also think Leyland overreacted to his postseason strugglest last year.
   11. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 24, 2013 at 10:22 AM (#4424293)
Alburqurque ain't fungible either.

Man do I agree with this. The guy is head and shoulders above the rest of the pen and you can throw in the rest of the torso when comparing him to Valverde.

Of course, I am happy about this. It's great to see the most talented team in the league shoot themselves in the foot, again. I love it when Valverde comes into a game against the Yanks, I always feel like they have a chance.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 24, 2013 at 10:25 AM (#4424294)
I love it when Valverde comes into a game against the Yanks, I always feel like they have a chance.

Especially since his struggles are mostly vs LHB. He's like the Yankees dream opposing pitcher right now.
   13. JJ1986 Posted: April 24, 2013 at 10:26 AM (#4424297)
Also, this shows why hyping closers is silly. He had a highly publicized consecutives saves streak two years ago, which was mostly just dumb luck, and now is fighting for a job.


Most closers not being great for very long also shows why hyping closers who can be great for 15 years in a row is not silly.
   14. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 24, 2013 at 10:31 AM (#4424308)
What's silly about this is not the decision to bring him back -- he's still an effective pitcher, even with the alarming drop in K rate -- nor is it the decision to make him the closer.

No, those decisions are both extremely silly. A 113 ERA+, which he posted last year, out of a reliever isn't good. Zips projects him to put up a 3.76 ERA, roughly the same as last year. A 6.3 K/9 rate is horrible. A 1.78 K/BB ratio is not good either. The loss of 2 MPH off his fastball since he became a Tiger is a sign that he is on his way out, not about to rebound. Giving him the closer spot,, where he will pitch in the highest leverage situations, after NO ONE IN BASEBALL wanted to sign him is absurd.

It's the "Oh, he's looked good the past few days." We have 200 IP over the last three years to grade him on.

Well, maybe he came out throw 95-96 again. I mean, I agree this reasoning is silly, but not as silly as putting him in the most important relief role on the team over several clearly superior pitchers.

Especially since his struggles are mostly vs LHB. He's like the Yankees dream opposing pitcher right now.

Right! "Hey, let's put the guy who obviously needs to be platooned in the one relief position where Leyland will never platoon him." ####### brilliant Tigers. Right up there with DHing Delmon Young.
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 24, 2013 at 10:37 AM (#4424314)
Right! "Hey, let's put the guy who obviously needs to be platooned in the one relief position where Leyland will never platoon him." ####### brilliant Tigers.

Yup, you can save all your LH PHs for the 9th knowing they'll get to face Valverde.
   16. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 24, 2013 at 10:41 AM (#4424318)
Well, maybe he came out throw 95-96 again. I mean, I agree this reasoning is silly, but not as silly as putting him in the most important relief role on the team over several clearly superior pitchers.


Well, I disagree that Closer is the most important relief role on the team. (I mean, I know people think it is; but I disagree that it actually is.)

As for his platoon splits, maybe they could swap him and Coke from RF to P based on the hitter. (Is this legal?)
   17. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 24, 2013 at 10:45 AM (#4424326)
Well, I disagree that Closer is the most important relief role on the team. (I mean, I know people think it is; but I disagree that it actually is.)

Don't closers, over the course of the season, pitch in the highest leverage situations for their respective teams? I'm not sure how else you would identify the most important relief role. The fireman doesn't exist any more.
   18. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: April 24, 2013 at 11:28 AM (#4424386)
And he even, ummm.... picked up a win last night and now leads the Cubs with 2 W's!


Not trying to highjack this thread, but holy ####, that's pretty pathetic. I guess it makes sense since the team has a whopping six wins on the season, but it's telling that the guy who lost his job before the season had a week in the books is leading the team in wins... and he's not a starting pitcher.
   19. Jim Wisinski Posted: April 24, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4424478)
seemed improbable even after the Tigers signed Valverde to a minor-league contract on April 4


Nonsense, once the Tigers signed him to that deal all he had to do was show that his stuff was still good and him being brought back as the closer was inevitable.
   20. SoSH U at work Posted: April 24, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4424506)
Don't closers, over the course of the season, pitch in the highest leverage situations for their respective teams? I'm not sure how else you would identify the most important relief role. The fireman doesn't exist any more.


Usage is the other variable. If you have a 96 Rivera, a 98-99 Lowe or an 02 Dotel, throwing 100 or so innings of quality ball, he's going to be your most valuable reliever.

But in a situation like the Tigers, where all top relievers will get a similar number of innings, then yes, the closer is the most important role.

   21. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 24, 2013 at 01:08 PM (#4424532)
The Tigers are, on paper, really, really good


Above average, sure. Good? Meh.

A) Their offense should be above average, weak hitting outfielders and 2b offset by Cabrera/Prince/Pheralta and Aviles. V-Mart a total wildcard at this point, if he bounces back the offense is great.

B) The rotation is studly, but its not as good as it looks. Outside of Verlander its staffed exclusively by guys with good to great stuff and no stamina or pitch count savvy. Scherzer/Porcello/Fister/Sanchez struggle to get through the 6th, putting more work and pressure on the bullpen. Which is fine if you have a top notch bullpen, but....

C) The pen is a collection of high walk types. Albuquerque is amazing at Ks and never giving up a HR, ever, yet, but still walks 5 per 9. This pen doesnt seem built to pitch lots of innings well, and to compound the dangers of over-using guys who give lots of free passes...

D) The defense is a disaster, one of the worst in baseball. Defensive efficiency near last in the league.

When they make the playoffs, c) will get minimized since one of those starters becomes a very live relief arm. But those pitchers will always be burdened by the horrible range of that infield defense.

Verlander deserves the Cy Young every year for throwing 230 innings every year in front of this cast of characters..
   22. Astroenteritis (tom) Posted: April 24, 2013 at 02:49 PM (#4424718)
I hope Valverde can put together one more good run. One of my favorite memories of him is when he came in to finish out a save for the Astros, took a line drive off the face, lay sprawled on the mound for a few minutes, then got up and finished out the save.
   23. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: April 25, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4425673)

He worked a 1-2-3 9th for the save last nite. I only saw the highlights... fastball was 92-93, most importantly it was moving to both sides of the plate. No splitters, but apparently it was too cold to throw them. It's certainly possible he could return to 2011 form, given his age and the variability of relief performances.
   24. Cooper Nielson Posted: April 26, 2013 at 02:47 AM (#4426073)
A) Their offense should be above average, weak hitting outfielders and 2b offset by Cabrera/Prince/Pheralta and Aviles. V-Mart a total wildcard at this point, if he bounces back the offense is great.

Jackson and Hunter are at least a tick above "weak," no? Hunter hasn't had an OPS+ below 110 since 2005 (it's 126 over the last 4+ years), Jackson was at 129 last year and was looking great this year until his horrible slump. I don't know who Pheralta and Aviles are.

B) The rotation is studly, but its not as good as it looks. Outside of Verlander its staffed exclusively by guys with good to great stuff and no stamina or pitch count savvy. Scherzer/Porcello/Fister/Sanchez struggle to get through the 6th,

Scherzer and Sanchez, yeah, maybe. And Porcello doesn't even deserve to be mentioned with the rest of them. But Fister has averaged well over 6 innings per start in his career. Last year he had 11 starts of at least 7 innings, and made it into the 8th in 6 of them (2 CGs). This year he went 5 innings in his first start of the year (pretty normal), then 8, 7, 7. He's no Verlander, but he's more of a "workhorse" than you're giving him credit for.

D) The defense is a disaster, one of the worst in baseball. Defensive efficiency near last in the league.

The defense is not good, but the Tigers have a high-K staff so their defense is less costly than it would be for teams that see a lot of balls in play.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Phil Birnbaum
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogNo-hitter! Four Phillies pitchers combine to blank the Braves
(11 - 5:17am, Sep 02)
Last: Steve N

NewsblogOT: Politics, September, 2014: ESPN honors Daily Worker sports editor Lester Rodney
(29 - 4:12am, Sep 02)
Last: CrosbyBird

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - September 2014
(6 - 2:36am, Sep 02)
Last: RollingWave

NewsblogTrevor Hoffman's Hall of Fame induction seems inevitable
(7 - 2:30am, Sep 02)
Last: Infinite Joost (Voxter)

NewsblogPhoto of the day: Bill Murray, indy league ticket-taker
(103 - 2:27am, Sep 02)
Last: Robert in Manhattan Beach

NewsblogNitkowski: Wanted: Major League manager...sort of.
(8 - 2:07am, Sep 02)
Last: Robert in Manhattan Beach

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 9-1-2014
(40 - 2:01am, Sep 02)
Last: MNB

NewsblogAstros Fire Bo Porter
(57 - 1:54am, Sep 02)
Last: base ball chick

NewsblogRobothal: Changed [Manny] Ramirez enjoyed helping Cubs prospects grow
(13 - 1:27am, Sep 02)
Last: The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott)

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1957 Ballot
(10 - 1:12am, Sep 02)
Last: Moeball

NewsblogHBT: Jorge Soler with an extra-base hit in each of his first five games
(2 - 1:02am, Sep 02)
Last: madvillain

NewsblogRon Roenicke rips into home-plate umpire
(17 - 12:18am, Sep 02)
Last: Bunny Vincennes

NewsblogBlue Jays Acquire Mayberry Jr.
(7 - 12:10am, Sep 02)
Last: Infinite Joost (Voxter)

NewsblogAthletics Acquire Adam Dunn
(43 - 11:46pm, Sep 01)
Last: Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66)

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread August, 2014
(986 - 11:25pm, Sep 01)
Last: The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott)

Page rendered in 0.1763 seconds
53 querie(s) executed