Tigers Exercise Jose Valverde’s 2012 Option

The Tigers announced that they have exercised their 2012 club option for Jose Valverde. The 33-year-old will earn $9MM next year instead of becoming a free agent (his contract did not include a buyout).

Valverde posted a 2.24 ERA with 8.6 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 and a 42.9% ground ball rate in 72 1/3 innings in 2011. He converted all 49 of his save opportunities and led the American League in saves and appearances. His average fastball checked in at 93.9 mph, down from 95.2 mph in 2010. Valverde, who signed a two-year, $14MM contract with Detroit after the 2009 season, projected as a Type A free agent this offseason.

Dan Mennella examined the fantasy baseball implications of the move at CloserNews.com, your source for fantasy updates on MLB relievers.

25 Responses to Tigers Exercise Jose Valverde’s 2012 Option Leave a Reply

  1. Alex 4 years ago

    I’m not sure this was a smart idea. Valverde led the league in saves, but he did it by the skin of his teeth and with an enormous amount of luck. His xFIP, WHIP, strand rate, and BB/9 were exceedingly ugly, and was only able to convert some of those saves by miracle plays from his defense. Throw in the fact that he’s useless in non-save situations, and I don’t think he’s worth $9MM. The option may not have been worth picking up even if Valverde had a great statistical year, as the market this offseason features a bounty of arms with closing experience that will likely come pretty cheap, since supply outweighs demand.

    • He is as good as the top closers available and they would cost as much. Then there is the second tier that make the save situations hairy at times but weren’t perfect in theirs. He is not a great closer but he is good enough and the 9mil isn’t a big deal being it’s just 1 year and not a multi year commitment

  2. mmwatkin 4 years ago

    While I don’t think he will be perfect in save situations next year, without him the Tigers bullpen would be shaky at best. 

    Hopefully Leyland limits his use in non-save situations. 

  3. Pawsdeep 4 years ago

    They almost had to pick up his option. His body of work this year was pretty good. Even though some games he allowed to get a little hairy, he still did the job. They pay him to close games and he did it perfectly.

    The tigers were something like 73-0 when leading after seven; he was a big part of it. If he’s paid to close games out, then it’s hard to argue he wasn’t worth the money. Plus, The Big Potato is probably the most entertaining closer a team could ask for. He is a lot of fun to watch.

    • Alex 4 years ago

      He allowed it to get “hairy” nearly every time he was out there. 34 walks and 52 hits in only 72.1 IP means that he made it a nerve-wracker every time he came out.

      • InLeylandWeTrust 4 years ago

        Check his save vs non save situation stats.

        • Pawsdeep 4 years ago

          Correct. And the point remains; he got the job done. To go a whole year without blowing a save is pretty damn impressive, regardless of some of the details on how the saves happened.

          The end justifies the means, and Valverde got the job done that he was paid to do and he did it with perfection.

      • jphenix2002 4 years ago

        He doesn’t let it get as hairy as Brian Wilson.

        Also, the guy has done what the Tigers have asked of him. He keeps them in the lead at the end of games. Now Dombrowski can focus on second base and a RHP or two for the 7th-inning.

  4. ImperialStout 4 years ago

    Glad he’s coming back, but I can’t help but think that his increasingly Todd Jonesian saves, his iffy peripherals (loads of luck), and his decreasing velocity will be a problem next season.

    • TheBigNice 4 years ago

      I believe a big reason for the decrease in his velocity was due to him nearly abandoning his 4-seamer in favor of a 2-seamer. He rarely threw his 4-seam in 2011 after using it almost exclusively the year prior. I’d read that Victor Martinez had suggested he use it during spring training after noticing that it kept him down in the zone. He traded velocity for movement…and that pitch does move an awful lot. 

      • ImperialStout 4 years ago

        Ah…. I actually knew that he did that but didn’t think anything of it when considering his velocity.  Good point!

      • verlander 4 years ago

        I wonder if him throwing more splitters in the second half has anything to do with his improved peripherals.

  5. No way we could have got a closer who is as good or better than Valverde for 9MM and I sure as hell am not ready to give the job to anyone in the organization.

    • Pawsdeep 4 years ago

      The dumpster fire that most call ‘Ryan Perry’ scares the living hell out of me. I swear, he has no idea where that ball is going when he throws it.

      • jphenix2002 4 years ago

        Neither does Max Scherzer. I have no idea where, but those two need to find control fast

        • Pawsdeep 4 years ago

          Max’s BB/9 was 2.6; walks aren’t really his problem. While sometimes his mechanics really mess up his control, he regains himself quickly, but then throws lollipops down the plate. Control really isn’t max’s issue; its consistency in his mechanics and he gives up way too many hits and homers.

          • verlander 4 years ago

            He can’t really control the homers. IIRC, he had a similar fly ball rate this year as he did last year, but they were going out of the park for home runs at a much higher rate. His stuff didn’t suddenly decline and he didn’t change anything.  It’s probably just flukey.

            He also had a slightly elevated BABIP.

        • verlander 4 years ago

          Scherzer’s main problem, imo, is he overthinks his mechanics. It seems like if something’s off, he goes looking for the fix and throws himself off even more. He just needs consistency. He’s got the skills.

    • verlander 4 years ago

      I was okay with letting Valverde walk and giving Benoit the closer’s job.

  6. Yes he made some situations hairy, but a lot of those hits and walks came in non save situations where he most definitely got owned.

  7. TimotheusATL 4 years ago

    Better to exercise the option and have cost certainty for one year versus signing a similarly-skilled closer and committing multiple years at a similar salary, I’d think.

  8. mmwatkin 4 years ago

    What do you think Valverde would get as a FA?

  9. JST1331 4 years ago


  10. Valverde is worth the money no doubt about it

  11. verlander 4 years ago

    Was not in favor of this until someone pointed out on Motownsports that Valverde actually improved in the second half. 

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