Found April 04, 2013 on
Fox Sports Detroit:
Three games into their season, the Detroti 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 the Tigers have 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 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 for the Tigers is, Valverde regains his form and becomes their lights-out closer again -- he's converted 110 out of 118 save opportunities with the Tigers. The worst is, he fades away into our memory banks.
Either way, its so early into the season that having Papa pitching in the minors isn't a gigantic issue; however, the closer issue is one that needs to be resolved.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland has let it be known that he wants a proven closer on his roster. Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski was convinced that rookie Bruce Rondon could handle the closer role.
Spring training proved that Rondon wasnt ready, which put Leyland into a closer-by-committee situation that hes not thrilled about.
Leyland has always respected Valverde and defended him vigorously during his epic meltdown last season. Leyland has also said time and again that it takes a different kind of mindset to close a game in the big leagues, and Valverde has that mindset in Leylands eyes.
Velverdes signing could be as simple as Dombrowski appeasing Leyland, but it really speaks to the fact that the Tigers are uncomfortable with their current closer situation.
Dombrowski has put his manager in an awkward position that could put this season in jeopardy.
Is Papa Grande the answer?
Its a stretch to really believe that hes the Tigers' best option at closer, but hes certainly an option -- which reveals how messed up the closer situation is on an otherwise outstanding baseball team.
BEST OF MAXIM
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...
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.
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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.
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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...
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Phil Coke is now 1-for-2 as the Detroit Tigers’ makeshift closer. After cruising to an easy save on opening day against the Minnesota Twins, Coke faltered Wednesday afternoon as the Twins rallied for a 3-2 victory.
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Well…..in baseball it’s amazing how things seldom go as expected. Or history repeats itself.
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It's Opening Day at Comerica Park in Downtown Detroit!! The Detroit Tigers take on a familiar foe from last years ALCS, the New York Yankees. Here are today's starting lineups:
For the visiting New York Yankees:
1. CF Gardner
2. 2B Cano
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6. SS Nunez
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8. 1B Overbay
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