Free agent right-hander Jose Valverde will get another chance to prove his career isn’t over, as the veteran reliever has signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets according to a release by the team. The soon-to-be 36 year old will be in Major League camp with the team, hoping to land a spot in the team’s bullpen out of Spring Training.
He’ll reportedly earn $1 Million if he’s able to make the Mets’ roster, with the potential for another $1.5 Million in incentives.
Once one of the more dominant closers in the Major Leagues, Valverde’s star crashed and burned late in the 2012 regular season and into the postseason. The Detroit Tigers let him enter the free agent market without showing much serious interest in a reunion, but a market never developed. He’d remain available through Spring Training, before the Tigers signed him to a one year deal in early April. Following a month in the minor leagues Valverde would return to the Detroit bullpen, showing some positive results early on before the wheels seemingly fell back off. He’d allow six home runs in his final eight appearances, before being designated for assignment and released in early August.
Over his 11 year career he holds a 3.19 ERA, 1.181 WHIP, and 9.9 K/9 over 609.2 IP. He’s also totaled 286 saves, giving him ample late game experience to bring to the table.
New York appears ready to head into the season with Bobby Parnell in line to be their closer, likely with Vic Black in a setup role. The team does have a number of young arms in the mix to potentially win spots in the bullpen, but it wouldn’t be out of the question for Valverde or another veteran reliever (Kyle Farnsworth, who the team also signed to a minor league deal a week ago) to break camp with the team following a strong spring.