When Jose Valverde and Kevin Gregg rose from their respective graves to close games, who thought Gregg would be the more prudent acquisition?
• Jose Valverde is still the Tigers closer. According to his manager, Jim Leyland “we’re going to use Jose Valverde until we decide Jose Valverde can’t do it or we have someone else better, just like everyone else does.” That may not sound like the strongest praise for Papa Grande, but the closer he shall remain. While Valverde throws a fastball and a splitter, performance wise, Jose Valverde is essentially a one-pitch pitcher nowadays. In 2013, his fastball has been worth 1.5 runs above average, per 100 pitches while his splitter has been worth -9.67 runs above average, per 100 pitches. Considering Valverde’s getting strikeouts at a below average rate overall and isn’t fooling anyone with his splitter, I don’t expect any better results out of Valverde this season, in fact I might expect worse. Joaquin Benoit (2.60 FIP) has been great this season but the Tigers don’t seem to want him closing and if a move is made to replace Valverde, I still feel it might come outside of the organization. Nevertheless, Valverde will receive the next opportunities, and needless to say, this situation could be very fluid soon.
As I click publish on this post, Valverde entered the game with a four run lead, walked the leadoff batter, got a fortuitous double play and then issued a HBP.
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