Originally written on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 11/18/14

LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 21: (EDITOR'S NOTE: IMAGES HAVE BEEN DIGITALLY DESATURATED) Manager, Jim Leyland #10 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a portrait during Photo Day on February 21, 2009 at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Three games into their season, the Tigers have already sent their fan base into a panic. No, it wasnt Phil Cokes blown save against the Twins in Minnesota on Wednesday that has caused this tizzy. It was the announcement that Detroit has signed their former closer, Jose "Papa Grande" Valverde, to a minor-league deal. Valverde will begin his season in Lakeland, Fla., and if he successfully progresses his way up the Tigers' food chain through Triple-A Toledo, he'll eventually be back in Detroit. It's a curious but harmless move - a risk worth taking since the closer role is far from being settled. According to reports, the Tigers sent members of their staff down to the Dominican Republic and watched a healthy Valverde throw with velocity and control. Obviously, the best-case scenario is that Valverde regains his form and becomes Detroits lights-out closer -- he's converted 110 out of 118 save opportunities with the Tigers. The worst is, he fades away into our memory banks. ...
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