If I was a talking head on TV, I'd criticize the Tigers' new closer for obviously having no faith in his team's offense. I mean, obviously Jose Valverde must think the team can't score any runs if he believes he can rack up a save total of 47.
But since I like to think we're all smart enough not to use Around The Horn logic, we won't -- WHAT? 74 SAVES?!
WHAT IS HE TALKING ABOUT?
Whoops. Sorry about that.
In his first day in camp, Saturday, Valverde spoke a bit with the media. He told them he wanted to continue wearing No. 47 like he did in Houston, but someone a bit more famous than himself already had laid a pretty good claim to that with his play in the 80s -- Jack Morris.
So scratch that "46" he's currently got on his back. Apparently Valverde would prefer to upgrade to 74.
And oh by the way, wouldn't it be great if he could get 74 saves to go with it? Actual quote:
"You know what? I can do maybe 74 here."
In 2007, he had 47 while wearing 47, so why not?
Well, I'm sure he's in the best shape of his life, so -- yeah, why not?!
But more seriously, Valverde told the press he thinks he can get 50 saves, which MLB.com's Jason Beck reports would set the Tigers' record while surpassing Todd Jones' 42. Seventy-four would surpass the previous major league record of 62 set by Frankie Rodriguez with the Angels in 2008.
Getting to 50 would involve the Tigers winning a lot of games by three runs or less. And given this projected offense, even with the addition of Johnny Damon, I believe Valverde is right. Detroit will certainly be in enough close games for him to get the opportunity.
Let's just hope they're on the the winning side in enough of those close games to give Valverde a chance to pile up some nice numbers.
A record 74 saves? Well, no.
But Valverde may have set a local record for spring training optimism.
Other stories to come out of Saturday's training camp:
- Detroit News: Jim Leyland gets best of birthday boy Justin Verlander
- Freep.com: Kenny Rogers back with Tigers as special instructor
- Freep.com: Tigers' Alex Avila happy, but there's a catch
- Freep.com: Scott Sizemore showing big-league confidence
- Beck's Blog: Too much pitching? Not according to Leyland
- Beck's Blog: Line of the day: Justin Verlander
- ESPN.com: Justin Verlander's competitive fire leads Tigers into Spring Training
And for your spring training photos needs, check out both Roger Dewitt's photo stream on Flickr,as well as Thomas Hagerty's work there for Lakeland Local. Both have been kind enough to let me use spring training photos of theirs on this site, so a big thank you to them.
And oh yes, ESPN was there during its spring training tour. Video proof: an interview with manager Jim Leyland: