Jose Valverde Rumors
In 2008, Jose Valverde and Francisco Rodriguez combined for 106 saves. Even last year, Valverde saved 35 and K-Rod whiffed a batter per inning. Both relievers are represented by Scott Boras, who tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports he expects to find new teams for the pair soon.
Valverde has lost 18 pounds and is throwing 93 to 95 miles per hour in bullpen sessions, Boras tells Rosenthal. Valverde, 35, averaged 93.4 miles per hour on his fastball last year, but posted a career-worst 6.3 K/9. He's the lone remaining unsigned player among our Top 50 Free Agents. Rodriguez, pitching for the Brewers, received fewer than 20 save opportunities for the first time since 2004. Still just 31, he too could be a useful component in someone's bullpen. I know the Boras Corporation has training facilities and such, but it seems it would have been helpful for both relievers to participate in Spring Training with a team. Rodriguez, at least, recorded seven outs in the World Baseball Classic.
MLB relievers combined to post a 3.66 ERA with nearly one strikeout per inning pitched (8.4 K/9) in 2012. Here are the latest relief rumors as teams consider reinforcements for the 2013 season...
- Free agent right-hander Jose Valverde won’t pitch for the Dominican Republic at the beginning of the upcoming World Baseball Classic, but he could pitch for the team later on, agent Scott Boras told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter links). Valverde, who’s missing the early part of the tournament due to the illness of a family member, is “ready to throw,” according to Boras.
- Meanwhile, Valverde’s former team seems intent on younger solutions. Tigers management wants Bruce Rondon to take on a significant role in 2013, but the rookie reliever has encountered control issues early on, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. "We're not looking to add anyone," GM Dave Dombrowski said.
- Detroit manager Jim Leyland said bringing Valverde back has not been discussed, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports (on Twitter).
- David Price recently said he’d be hesitant to sign a long-term deal with the Yankees because of their facial hair policy. However, the left-hander said today that he wouldn’t rule out playing for New York at some point, Newsday’s David Lennon reports (Twitter links). No doubt realizing his leverage will increase if the Yankees are interested, Price said he might not even have a beard by the time he hits free agency.
- The Tigers haven’t considered re-signing Jose Valverde for a moment, Lynn Henning of the Detroit News reports (on Twitter). The reliever will have the chance to boost his free agent stock in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
- Edwin Jackson, one of the top free agent pitchers of the 2012-13 offseason, said his choice came down to the Cubs and Indians, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports. The Indians were aggressive in free agency this winter, signing Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn while pursuing others such as Jackson. The right-hander pitched on a one-year deal in 2012 and is pleased to have signed a multiyear deal this time. “It’s always a good feeling to have security," he said.
2:10pm: A source tells Newsday's Marc Carig Valverde is only on the Mets' radar if there's an injury in camp and a need arises.
1:25pm: The Mets expect Valverde to receive a big league deal somewhere else, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. If that doesn't happen, however, they may consider him later, but not so much now.
12:54pm: A team insider characterized the chances of the Mets signing Valverde as "really, really unlikely," according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
9:27am: The Mets are leaving the door "slightly ajar" for free agent Jose Valverde to join the club as their closer, an industry source told Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. The source says that the Mets view Valverde, who turns 35 next month, as “a 5 out of 10.” However, as Davidoff notes, the Mets current bullpen isn't exactly filled with 8s and 9s.
Mets officials will assess the performances of their relievers in live action while continuing to collect information on Valverde. As it stands, Bobby Parnell is slotted in as the closer, with Brandon Lyon and Josh Edgin as the primary setup options.
It appeared that Valverde found a home earlier this month with the Marlins, but those reports proved to be untrue. Shortly thereafter, agent Scott Boras denied planting the story in order to drum up interest in his client. Valverde and Kyle Lohse are the two remaining members of MLBTR's Top 50 Free Agents list to be without a team.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he is "shocked" and "broken-hearted" that reliever Jose Valverde hasn’t signed yet, according to the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter). Valverde and Kyle Lohse are the only players from MLBTR’s list of top 50 free agents who have yet to sign. Here are some links from around MLB as we await their decisions...
- Mets owner Fred Wilpon insists that he's financially solvent and willing to spend. Less than a year from now he'll have the chance to prove it, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes.
- Jacoby Ellsbury said he loves playing for the Red Sox, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter). However, the center fielder has decided to defer to agent Scott Boras when it comes to his contract status. Ellsbury, a free agent this coming offseason, ranks fourth on MLBTR's initial Free Agent Power Rankings.
- Red Sox CEO/president Larry Lucchino suggested the team could discuss an extension with Ellsbury this spring, Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports. "We’d very much like to have him here," Lucchino said.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs believes the low-cost options built into the contracts of pitchers such as John Lackey and Felix Hernandez could represent the beginning of a positive trend for MLB as a whole.
- Trevor Bauer told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that he doesn't have "hard feelings" toward his former team (Twitter link). The Diamondbacks traded Bauer to the Indians in December and Miguel Montero had some critical words for the right-hander earlier this week.
It was on this day in 1999 that Dennis Martinez announced his retirement from baseball. The first Major League player from Nicaragua, Martinez enjoyed a 23-year career with five teams, including spending his final season with Atlanta and eight years with Montreal from 1986-93. "El Presidente" is best remembered for throwing the 13th perfect game in Major League history, shutting down the Dodgers on July 28, 1991.
Here's the latest from around the NL East...
- Scott Boras has denied an accusation that he planted a rumor that the Marlins were close to signing Jose Valverde, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. Spencer reported on Monday that the Marlins/Valverde rumor was false, with one source suspecting that Boras planted the rumor to generate interest in his client. Boras said he had "no motive" for creating the rumor since "what benefit would it be for me and my client to do that" when the false information could be so easily disproven.
- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has turned down several offers to buy the team in recent months, The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson reports, including a group led by former Florida governor Jeb Bush. Loria has no intention to sell the team, though Jackson hears from an unnamed league official that Major League Baseball would prefer if Miami had an owner more willing to spend.
- The additions of Mike Adams and Chad Durbin will improve the Phillies bullpen, but the team also needs one of their young relievers to fill key roles in 2013, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes.
- Chipper Jones discussed the Braves' offseason moves and his upcoming visit to the team's Spring Training camp with MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Though he accepted the Braves' invitation to spend five days at camp, Jones said he is enjoying retirement and has "not had the itch whatsoever" to play again.
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.
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.