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Jose Valverde Rumors
11:43am: Valverde is talking with a number of teams, including the Marlins, but no deal is imminent, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
11:27am: The report that the sides are nearing a deal is "utterly false," Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. One of Spencer's sources suspects Boras is "trying to drum up attention when no market exists."
Valverde, who turns 35 next month, spent the past three years as the Tigers' closer. The right-hander converted all 49 of his save chances in 2011, but his performance dropped off last year, when he posted a 3.78 ERA with 6.3 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and 35 saves in 69 innings. He lost his closing job in the playoffs, with the Tigers turning to Phil Coke and others in high-leverage situations. Valverde posted a 34.0% ground ball rate in 2012 while averaging 93.4 mph with his fastball.
Valverde entered the offseason ranked 44th on MLBTR's list of top free agents available. The Mets had interest in Valverde, who was unsure if he would pitch in 2013 back in October. The Tigers made it clear that they were not going to bring him back to Detroit.
Francisco Rodriguez, Brian Wilson and Mark Lowe are among the other free agent relievers available, as MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker shows. Valverde could end up closing for the Marlins, who currently have internal options such as Steve Cishek and Ryan Webb. Follow @closernews on Twitter for closer-related fantasy baseball news and analysis.
The Mets' search for bullpen help has led them to some prominent free agent relievers. The Mets are pursuing Jose Valverde, and would even consider bringing Francisco Rodriguez back to New York, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports. However, a deal with Brian Wilson is now considered “very unlikely.”
The Mets are interested in signing Valverde, but only on their terms. Rubin suggests the Mets might be prepared to guarantee Valverde $4MM on a deal with significant incentives. Though the Mets have some interest in Rodriguez, he is believed to be seeking about $7MM, according to Rubin. Both free agent right-handers are clients of the Boras Corporation.
The Mets visited Roy Oswalt to convince him to join the team as its closer, Rubin reports. Oswalt is not interested in becoming a closer, so he’s no longer an option for GM Sandy Alderson. The Mets have one serious offer out to a late-inning reliever who’s not a closer, Rubin adds. The team expects to hear back from the player shortly.
MLBTradeRumors readers will be sure to note that longtime MLBTR writer Mike Axisa has become the newest contributor to the Eye on Baseball blog at CBSSports.com. Congrats to Mike, who started things off today with a look at the Yankees’ core pieces. As always, Mike’s latest piece is worth your time. Mike’s by-line won’t be appearing at MLBTR anymore, but Zach Links has become a full-time writer and he’ll be taking over the site’s Baseball Blogs Weigh In feature from now on. You can reach Zach here with your submissions: ZachBBWI@gmail.com.
Here are some links from around MLB…
- Carlos Beltran's preference is to return to the Cardinals following the 2013 season, writes MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. However, the presence of Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and top prospect Oscar Taveras might leave Beltran without a spot on St. Louis' roster.
- In a piece at River Ave. Blues, Mike previews a potential extension for Yankees right-hander David Robertson, suggesting a three-year, $15MM deal could work for both sides. That said, cost certainty isn't a huge priority for the Yankees, so "working out a multi-year contract with Robertson probably isn’t worth the hassle" from the standpoint of the club.
- The Marlins are hearing from the agents for several veteran free agents who would love to play in Miami, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. Freddy Garcia and Bobby Abreu are among the players who would like to join the Marlins, Jackson writes.
- Agent Scott Boras expects increased interest in free agent right-hander Jose Valverde now that Rafael Soriano has signed with the Nationals, George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press reports. The Tigers, Valverde's most recent team, seem confident in the ability of 22-year-old Bruce Rondon.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
At the outset of the offseason, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes published his annual list of the top 50 free agents with predictions. So far 43 of those 50 players have signed (or agreed to sign) new contracts, though Mike Napoli's deal with the Red Sox is on hold due to a hip problem. Here's the latest on the seven remaining unsigned players.
- Michael Bourn (#3) – The 29-year-old center fielder has drawn recent interest from the Rangers, but not much else. MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith recently looked at some potential suitors for Bourn, who will require draft pick compensation to sign.
- Kyle Lohse (#10) – Despite being the best starter left on the market, the 34-year-old Lohse hasn't drawn much public interest. The Red Sox and Angels had interest during the Winter Meetings, though they've since moved on. The Rangers have not discussed him. Like Bourn, Lohse is attached to draft pick compensation.
- Adam LaRoche (#15) – The Nationals and LaRoche were inching towards a new deal as of last week. The Orioles are not in the mix. The 33-year-old is also attached to draft pick compensation.
- Rafael Soriano (#17) – Teams don't love the idea of surrendering a draft pick for a reliever, so interest in the 33-year-old remains tepid. The Dodgers and Red Sox are not interested, and the Tigers downplay their chances of signing him.
- Shaun Marcum (#19) – There's a healthy market for the 31-year-old right-hander, with the Mets, Twins, Padres, and Cubs showing interest. The Brewers have not discussed a possible reunion, however.
- Joe Saunders (#25) – The Orioles, Mariners, Padres, and Mets have all talked to the 31-year-old Saunders recently. The Twins made an offer to the left-hander this offseason as well.
- Jose Valverde (#44) – Valverde, 34, said he was unsure if he would pitch in 2013 back in October. The Tigers will not bring him back and there has otherwise been zero interest this winter.
It's the middle of the night, but news rarely stops coming in over the course of baseball's Winter Meetings. Here are some links from around the baseball world for those who are still awake…
- One of the reasons that Sean Burnett's two-year, $8MM deal with the Angels was so affordable was because he had surgery to remove a bone spur this offseason, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times. For comparison, Jeremy Affeldt signed for three years and $18MM.
- Danny Knobler of CBS Sports writes that the Phillies have a list of five center field targets that includes Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton, Dexter Fowler, Curtis Granderson and Ben Revere. This is the first they've been linked to Revere, who Knobler says the Twins will move for young pitching despite already having traded Denard Span.
- Scott Boras told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that he's spoken to Giants team president Larry Baer about established closers like Rafael Soriano and Jose Valverde (Twitter link). There doesn't seem to be a match there in my opinion, given Sergio Romo's excellence and reports that the Giants are at their payroll threshold.
- The Rays have hired former Astros scouting director Bobby Heck as as special assignment scout, tweets Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.
It's been a busy morning for the Tigers, who announced today that they're bringing back Jhonny Peralta, Octavio Dotel and manager Jim Leyland. Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski recently addressed the media, discussing the 2012 team and the Tigers' offseason plans. George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press has the highlights from the briefing (all links go to Twitter):
- The Tigers won't bring back Delmon Young, since they expect Victor Martinez to DH in 2013. Jose Valverde won't return either, according to Dombrowski.
- The Tigers will tender Brennan Boesch a contract, but they're in the process of removing Don Kelly from the 40-man roster. Dombrowski wasn't prepared to discuss the future of non-tender candidate Ryan Raburn.
- The Tigers want to re-sign free agent right-hander Anibal Sanchez, Dombrowski said.
- Free agent catcher Gerald Laird could return, but that's not a sure thing.
- Hard throwing relief prospect Bruce Rondon draws lots of trade interest, according to Dombrowski. "You would not believe the number of clubs that call me about Rondon," the GM said.
- Earlier today John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press took a position by position look at the upcoming offseason for the Tigers.
The Tigers’ season ended in disappointment, but that shouldn’t overshadow a tremendous season in Detroit. This team had its share of memorable moments in 2012, even if the Giants captured the championship. Here are some Tigers-related links…
- Anibal Sanchez said he's open to signing anywhere as a free agent this coming offseason, Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press reports. GM Dave Dombrowski has said re-signing the right-hander is a priority for the Tigers this winter.
- Jose Valverde said he's not yet sure where he'll be pitching next year, George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press reports. The free agent reliever said he'd like to re-sign in Detroit if possible. "I think everybody wants to play for the Tigers. Great teammates, great owner."
- There are indications that Tigers manager Jim Leyland will return for at least one more season, Chris Iott of MLive.com reports. "We're going to talk about some things in a day or so and I'm sure they'll have some type of an announcement," Leyland said, adding that the Tigers will be the final team he manages. Dombrowski has said Leyland would be welcome as the team's manager in 2013.
- However, Leyland spoke of his Tigers career as though it were already in the past, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com writes.
The Tigers, now just two wins away from advancing to the World Series, have the day off before hosting the Yankees in Detroit tomorrow night. Here are some links from the only division in baseball that did not feature a 90-win team in 2012…
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski built Detroit's starting rotation for the postseason and it's working, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com writes. "These four guys have the capability of shutting down anyone when they're throwing good," Dombrowski said of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez.
- John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press examines the dynamic between Jose Valverde, the closer who can no longer be relied upon, and Jim Leyland, the manager who must juggle egos and matchups as a result of Valverde's poor performances. In my opinion Valverde's free agent stock has diminished considerably this past month. If MLB executives share this view, agent Scott Boras could have difficulty finding serious interest in his new client.
- Twins senior director of minor league operations Jim Rantz announced that he will retire at the end of the year, the team announced. Rantz, 75, has been a member of the Twins' organization since its inception in 1961.
The Tigers overtook the White Sox in the standings yesterday and now have a one-game lead in the AL Central with seven games to play. Here’s the latest from Detroit, where the Tigers will host the Royals this afternoon…
- Agent Scott Boras, who now represents Jose Valverde, told John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press that his client can continue closing for many years to come. "Closers are good in their mid-30s, not in their mid-20s," Boras said. The Tigers don’t have an obvious internal alternative to the 34-year-old Valverde, who’s eligible for free agency this offseason.
- Lowe and Free Press writer George Sipple note that the Tigers might not have room for Brennan Boesch on next year’s team. The 27-year-old will be arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason but he's a non-tender candidate.
- The Tigers have a $6MM club option for Jhonny Peralta in 2013 and they probably won’t find anyone steadier for that price, Lowe and Sipple write. I expect the Tigers to exercise the option.
- It’s not easy to see where Delmon Young would fit on next year’s Tigers team, the Free Press writers note. Victor Martinez is expected to return in 2013, which means the Tigers aren’t a logical landing spot for Young, who hits free agency this winter.
- Anibal Sanchez could be a fit in Detroit next year, but the Tigers would have to re-sign him as a free agent.
Jose Valverde said he has hired Scott Boras to represent him this offseason, John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press reports. The 34-year-old right-hander will hit free agency in a matter of weeks when his multiyear contract with the Tigers expires.
Valverde downplayed the significance of the switch, saying "people change agents all the time." Last August Valverde switched agencies, leaving Praver/Shapiro for Proformance. The Tigers exercised their 2012 option months later, delaying Valverde’s free agency by a year.
In 65 innings this year, Valverde has a 4.02 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9. He has 31 saves and an average fastball velocity of 93.3 mph. Be sure to check out MLBTR's Agency Database for information about each MLB player's representatives.