He is an electrifying player whose antics are sure to fire up a crowd in the ninth inning. With a flailing motion toward the plate, he sends the ball and his large frame right at the catcher. Batters in the National League often look foolish trying to swing at his stuff. Now in 2010, he’ll try to follow up Fernando Rodney as the latest Tigers closer.
Let’s start with the obvious, the signing of Valverde has irked many supporters of Curtis Granderson, as it completely contradicts the notion that the Tigers are in a savings mode. Combine this deal with the heavily-refuted rumors about Johnny Damon and it seems that Tigers management cannot make up their mind about which direction to take this team. It’s good to see that they are not taking fan support for granted, but it’s time to take a direction and stick to it.
Gone also with the $14 million plus heading to Jose Valverde’s bank account, will be the Tigers’ first round draft pick in 2010. The Tigers have built quite a team under Dave Dombrowski with the draft and this season he will have to dig deeper to find future Tigers talent. As young pitcher Jacob Turner toils in the minors, the Tigers will pray that Rick Porcello has a season very similar to his 2009 performance.
Back to Valverde though, the other likely closing duo of Ryan Perry and Joel Zumaya does not look as promising in comparison. Sure, he may have similar struggles to those that Edgar Renteria had at shortstop in the AL, but pitching is pitching. In the American League, great pitching (with some mashing) can lead a team well into the playoffs. For the Tigers to get to the ALDS in 2010, they’ll need Valverde to be on his game.