By: Scott Anderson
Dave Dombrowski has just made a move that will be criticized for days and weeks to come as the Tigers have signed Jose Valverde to a minor league contract. The GM has said that he wants to leave no stone unturned when trying to improve the ballclub and more importantly the bullpen.
I am no fan bringing Papa Grande back, parting ways with the erratic closer seemed like the best decision following last season. Though he was effective, saving 85% of his opportunities last season, in the end it looked as though he had lost his confidence and more importantly, Jim Leyland’s confidence.
So why bring him back even on a minor league deal? The objective answer is that there is no risk in seeing what he has in the tank. Kick the tires, see if he has command and control over his pitches, if it doesn’t pan out, you let him go by May 5th. The sad truth is that the Tigers may not have the makings of a closer on their current roster and the development of Bruce Rondon in Toledo is a work in progress until he has his control issues worked out.
I am not freaking out with this move, though that mood may change if he ever dons the Olde English D in the next few weeks. It is curious that this transaction takes place after the first blown save of the season in just the second game of 162. My prodigious gut tells me that the Tigers will be able to find someone capable enough to close out games to the point where Valverde is no longer a lightning rod of reaction from the Tiger faithful.