By: Ashley Dunkak
After much speculation as to his role on the Detroit Tigers, former closer Jose Valverde has been designated for assignment. Detroit manager Jim Leyland said Thursday that he would not be naming a full-time closer but that he would prefer to use Joaquin Benoit in that position whenever Benoit was healthy and available.
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said the team wants Valverde to go back to Triple-A Toledo and work out his issues but is not sure whether he will actually go or not.
“He did not give us an answer on that,” Dombrowski said. “It really doesn’t make a difference at this point since we would still have to get waivers at some time. He was open-minded to it, he didn’t say ‘no’ to it, but he needed some time to think about it. Our goal would not be to keep him there for an extended period of time, it would be more a matter of trying to get him fixed.”
Designating Valverde’s contract gives the Tigers 10 days to make a move with it, Dombrowski said.
“We have asked him if he would go to Triple A for us, and try to work with him there, try to get him straightened out,” Dombrowski said. “It’s a very difficult situation to try to fix that here, with his arm angle and we’re trying to get his split back.”
In 20 appearances this season, Valverde saved nine games and blew threw saves. His ERA was 5.59, and he had a WHIP of 1.241. Over his last eight outings, Valverde gave up 11 runs on 15 hits in seven and one-third innings. He also gave up six home runs in that span.
Dombrowski said the team is still willing to work with Valverde and that if the pitcher is able to fix his mechanics he could still close games.
“We have nothing to lose to try,” he said.