Jose Valverde to the Mets? The MLB Network and the New York Post have reported the New York Mets have some interest in bringing Papa Grande to La Gran Manzana. Valverde was last seen being duct taped to the Detroit Tigers bullpen bench by Jim Leyland after pitching to 36.82 ERA during the 2012 postseason. The immortal Phil Coke was the Tigers ALCS and World Series closer, not that the Tigers needed a closer in the World Series, due to Valverde’s batting practice sessions against the A’s, Yankees and Giants in October.
Valverde has been a solid closer for the Diamondbacks, Astros and Tigers since the 2007 season. He has led the league in saves three times, boasts a 1.18 career WHIP and an impressive .209 career batting average against.. His 2012 stat line was 35 saves/3.78 ERA/1.25 WHIP.
Battling financial constraints and a cynical fan base, Mets GM Sandy Alderson has done an admirable job rebuilding the Mets franchise from the Colonel Klink like leadership of Omar Minaya. Since becoming GM, Alderson has traded aging players for Top 100 prospects Zack Wheeler, Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard.
Mets fans should have reason for concern, however, when Alderson begins wasting away again in Jon Rauch-ville again, searching for retread relievers. The Mets already employ Jose Valverde lite, doughy Dominican closer Frank Francisco at a hefty sum of $6.5 million in 2013. Valverde’s strikeouts per inning and ERA rose last year, signalling a drop in velocity, and his batting average against rose to its highest mark since the 2006 season.
Papa Grande has had an underappreciated career, and would certainly be an upgrade over Frank Francisco and his 5.53 ERA in 2012. But Alderson should realize that Valverde profiles like ex-Amazins’ closer Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez when Minaya overpaid for his services before the 2009 season. His ratios trended downward in 2012. Given the probable state of the 2013 Mets, there is no reason to reward Valverde with a contract to match his sizable girth for past performance.