The Tigers reportedly signed closer Jose Valverde for $14 million over two years with a third-year option at $9 million. The Astros also get Detroit's 19th-overall draft pick.
Here's a collection of feedback on the deal (all are direct quotes). I'd like to have it more balanced, but it's hard to find all that many opinions in favor of the deal.
Tigers bloggers: feel free to drop a link to your stuff in the comments.
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs.com: Valverde to the Tigers
Seriously, in a market where everyone else is finding bargains, the Tigers pay $7 million a year for a good-but-not-great relief pitcher, and give up a draft pick for the right to do so. Were they not paying attention to the rest of the contracts being handed out? Did they not realize they were bidding against themselves? How do you justify dumping Curtis Granderson to save money, and then use that money (and more!) to sign a flyball reliever with command problems who has never pitched in the AL?
- Rob Neyer of ESPN.com: Tigers spend $14 million on short man
I wish I could disagree with Cameron, if only for variety's sake. But this strikes me as a monumentally poor use of $14 million and a first-round draft choice. Not because Valverde's a useless pitcher; he's actually quite useful. But a pitcher like Valverde -- any relief pitcher, really -- should be the final ingredient. You fill all the other holes you can fill, and when you're satisfied with your catchers and your first baseman and your second baseman and your shortstop and your third baseman and your three outfielders and your four best starting pitchers
- Lynn Henning, Detroit News: Jose Valverde worth price Tigers paid for needed closer
I've heard people say there's no reason to invest in Valverde. The 2010 season is lost. Hang on instead to that draft pick. Save some cash. This year already has been conceded. *snip* The Tigers got in Valverde an outstanding pitcher. As a National League scout told me earlier this week, he's one of the few pitchers around who can come into the ninth, throw 15 consecutive fastballs, and get three quick outs.
- Steve Kornacki, MLive.com -- Paying big bucks for closer Jose Valverde will be worth it for Tigers
It was either Valverde or roll the dice. And considering he made $8 million last year with an injury that did not involve his arm and had no lasting effects, the money is justified. He has saved 86 percent of 194 opportunities in his career, and Tigers career saves leader Todd Jones finished his career at 81 percent. Jones was at 86 percent in each of his past three seasons with Detroit.
- Billfer of Tigers find enough in the cushions for Valverde Weblog:
The Tigers based on run differential were a .500 team in 2009 and they have moved the wrong direction this year. Even in a weak division I don’t see Valverde being the difference between contending and not contending meaning that Valverde is more luxury than necessity. A luxury that not only costs them money, but also Detroit’s first round draft pick. The kind of pick that would probably be in the top 5 prospects in the Tigers system.
- Matt Snyder, AOL Fanhouse -- Jose Valverde Signs With Detroit
Valverde wouldn't have signed anywhere unless he was guaranteed the role of closer, so he will slide in immediately as the Tigers' ninth-inning guy. With Joel Zumaya, Phil Coke, Ryan Perry and Daniel Schereth bridging the gap from starting pitching to Valverde, the Tigers now have a pretty formidable bullpen to go with their young starting rotation. The question now shifts to whether or not they can get enough offense to support their pitching.
- John Parent, Tigers Tracks
Wasn’t it just a month ago that Dave Dombrowski traded two young stars in order to clear some payroll? If this is how he planned on using the spare cash, I’m a bit disappointed. Sure, the pitching staff appears to be set for a while, but where exactly, do they think the runs are going to come from? If there was a spare $7 MM laying around, I sure would have liked to see them try to add a veteran LH hitter to use when Carlos Guillen breaks down again, and he will.
- Lee Panas, Tigers sign Valverde
According to The Bill James Handbook, (Valverde) had 41 clean outings in 52 games last year. A clean outing is any appearance in which a reliever does not allow a run or an inherited run to score. His 79% clean outing percentage compared favorably to Fernando Rodney (70%), Brandon Lyon (69%) and the MLB average (64%) in 2009.
- Blake VandeBunte, The Spot Starters -- Fernando Rodney Jose Valverde?
I’m not a huge fan of the Valverde signing. The money sort of bugs me (as much as someone else’s money can bother a guy) and the giving up of the 19th pick really grinds my gears. Oh well. The Tigers hedged their bets in a way, but picking up two supplemental picks when they lost Rodney and Brandon Lyon.
- Matt Wallace, (the now-back-online) Take 75 North -- Tigers add Valverde as closer
t makes not a lick of sense to me. People who like the move will say it gives them a surer bet at the closer position. Why do the Tigers have such a burning desire for certainty at the closer position? They are taking a risk on their second baseman. They are taking a risk on their center fielder. Can they possibly believe their closer is more important to their success than those two positions. It certainly seems possible because Valverde over the next two years will be making precisely as much money as Curtis Granderson would have. Wrap your brain around that.
This looks to me like a move to convince themselves and fans they are contenders. That’s one approach, but I’d prefer they address bigger team needs to place themselves more squarely in that category.