Well, the Jose Valverde Project didn’t last long. Valverde, otherwise known as Papa Grande, is gone for now. Designated for assignment by the Detroit Tigers, Valverde might as well start filing for retirement starting today because it’s highly unlikely he’ll be brought back by any team. Known for his garish celebrations and facial hair, Jose Valverde was a serviceable closer for a several years with the Tigers, Astros, and Diamondbacks. In 2011, he went a perfect 49-for-49 in save opportunities and is tied for 27th all time on the career saves list with 286.
As impressive as this all is, though, Valverde lost something somewhere along the way. He gave up 9 ER in four playoff games last year, essentially being replaced by never-closer Phil Coke. That was the last we thought we’d see of Valverde until a rash of injuries and poor performances by the Tigers bullpen in spring training sent Tigers officials screaming for his help. And Valverde answered. He started off 3-for-3 in saves with 0 ER in his first five appearances. Since then, though, he’s racked up 3 blown saves, a loss, and 12 ER in 14 innings pitched.
Papa Grande, you and your antics will be missed.