Found April 05, 2013 on
A 3-game series has come and gone for the Detroit Tigers. And in classic Motor City fashion, fans are abuzz over what they just saw. Losing 2 of 3 to the measly Twins simply shouldn’t happen.
Questions that have already arisen from a fairly insignificant series in early April include:
Will the Tigers stink on the road again, thus preventing them from pulling away from the rest of the AL Central pack as their payroll suggests they should?
Is the ‘closer by committee’ already being adjudicated as a failure?
Is the writing on the wall via the signing of Jose Valverde that he will be this team’s closer before long?
Why can’t the back end of the lineup hit?
First off, I suggest you breathe. Three games in April does not define the course of a season. This team’s ultimate destination is a playoff appearance via another AL Central crown.
But that doesn’t make what we just saw any more acceptable. To me, the problems of the Tigers both last year and through 0.2% of this season are that there is no sense of urgency. What do I mean by that?
Simple. Pitchers are pitching for October, not April. Hitters are pacing themselves, knowing what lies ahead. Jim Leyland is managing for 162 games, not three.
This can be unbearably frustrating to watch at times. Think of two of the Tigers’ playoff opponents last year – the A’s and Giants. Both teams perhaps achieved more than anyone thought they should have. To me, the reason why was because they played like their hair was on fire. They had places to go and doubters to disprove.
The Tigers simply do not operate this way. Should they? Yes, to some degree. Why must Rick Porcello tickle the mid 90’s in spring while fighting for his job only to average 91 MPH on the pitch during his first regular season start? Has he already relaxed?
Phil Coke is notorious for his struggles against right-handed hitters. What allowed him to overcome some of that during a dynamic run last October was that he ramped up his fastball to 95-96 MPH. in his two appearances so far this year it has been more like 90 MPH. That’s a huge difference and exactly who two weak-hitting righties got to him on Wednesday when he blew the save.
Detroit doesn’t have that one dynamic personality that they can call upon to fire the team up. The few that they’ve had in recent years have been Coke and Valverde, who are on the field for maybe one inning per game. Indeed, the Tigers trot out a bunch of businessmen.
This is something that isn’t likely to change anytime soon considering the current makeup of this team. So my best advice to all Tigers fans is to take it for what it’s worth, which is almost certainly a playoff team, and try to enjoy the ride that comes along with it.
159 games to go.
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BEST OF MAXIM
After the Detroit Tigers' short-lived and frightening (if you're a Tigers fan at least) experiment with the closer by committee approach, the team went out and signed Jose Valverde. Papa Grande will likely eventually be added to the 25-man roster, but for now the deal is of the minor league variety.
Jose Valverde has signed a minor-league contract w/ the Tigers.
The Detroit Tigers and former closer Jose Valverde have agreed to terms on a minor-league contract.
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski made the announcement before Thursday's game at Minnesota.
Valverde is a three-time All Star who led the AL with 49 saves in 2011 but wasn't as effective in 2012. He struggled badly in the postseason, allowing 11 hits, nine runs and...
After finishing the 2012 season on a sour note, the Tigers may give former closer Jose Valverde a chance to redeem himself in 2013.
Although Valverde had 35 saves during the regular season, he blew two during the Tigers’ playoff run and was removed from the role in favor of a closer-by-committee approach. A free agent after the season, Valverde had been unable to find work despite...
The Detroit Tigers have agreed to a one-year contract with reliever Jose Valverde, who is expected back with the team Wednesday.
And manager Jim Leyland says Valverde will be Detroit's closer immediately.
Valverde was the Tigers' closer the last three years, but the team was prepared to let him leave as a free agent after he faltered during the 2012 postseason. But he never...
The man they call “Papa Grande” is on his way back to Detroit. Well, maybe.
Jose Valverde, the 2011 MLB Delivery Man of the Year, was signed to a minor league deal by the Tigers on Thursday. Valverde was released following a disastrous 2012 postseason which saw him concede the closer’s role to lefty reliever Phil Coke. Valverde only pitched 2.2 innings in the Tigers’ run...
The Detroit Tigers maintained all offseason that they did not have any interest in bringing back former closer Jose Valverde. On Thursday the team announced a minor league deal for the 35-year-old.
Valverde had a down year in 2012. Despite 35 saves, Valverde had a 3.78 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. Both numbers were his worst since 2006.
If Valverde cannot make it to the majors by May 5th...
The Detroit Tigers signed Jose Valverde to a minor-league contract on Thursday, one day after Phil Coke blew a save in a 3-2 loss to the Twins. Valverde’s contract includes an out-clause, which triggers on May 5 — if Valverde is not with the Tigers by then, he can void his deal and become a free agent again.
But according to GM Dave Dombrowski, the Tigers will “figure out pretty...
He'll make you feel good and bad and happy and sad. But mostly just sad. And mad. And glad...you don't own him. I'm talking, of course, of Jose Valverde. Motown just can't resist the temptations of signing Papa Grande. Smokey just went over all the fantasy baseball closers. There's $12 Salads. There's Donkeycorns. There's Brain Freezes. There...
The Detroit Tigers signed their former closer Jose Valverde on Thursday to a minor league deal, he will report to Lakeland, Fla.
“We love Papa Grande. He’s been fantastic for this organization,” general manager Dave Dombrowski said today via The Detroit Free Press. “He’s been fantastic as a person. We saw a little fall-off last year, and it wasn’t just during the postseason...
All offseason long, the Detroit Tigers denied interest in re-signing free-agent closer Jose Valverde. Every other team in baseball also effectively denied interest in signing Valverde. The Tigers did next to nothing to address their closer situation, and on Wednesday, Phil Coke blew a save against the Twins. Thursday, the Tigers signed Valverde, albeit to a minor-league contract...
Now that Jose Valverde has signed a minor-league contract with the Tigers, the obvious question is: When will Papa Grande be back as the closer?
The obvious answer is: When he can once again command his out-pitch, the split-fingered fastball at Triple-A Toledo.
Valverde lost the ability to throw the splitter effectively late last season and became a one-pitch guy.