“Papa Grande” Returns as Closer

Jose “Papa Grande” Valverde was released from the Tigers at the end of a disastrous 2012 season. In 2011, Valverde closed wonderfully for Detroit, saving 49 games, and ending the season with a 2.24 ERA (Earned Run Average). He recorded his 200th career save, and set a Single-Season record for the tigers with 49 saves. He was honored with the 2011 MLB Delivery Man of the Year Award and the American League Rolaids Relief Man Award as the most outstanding relief pitcher of the regular season, as well as finishing fifth in voting for the Cy Young Award, which went to teammate Justin Verlander. He didn’t blow any saves.

In late October 2011, the Tigers decided to extend Valverdes contract. 2012 went downhill from there. On opening day of the 2012 season, he broke his save streak after blowing a 2-0 lead against Boston. The rest of the regular season followed suit, as Valverde finished with a 3.78 ERA and 5 blown saves. In the playoffs he blew a game against the A’s in the ALDS, and one save in the sweep of the Yankees in the ALCS, after which he was pulled. Soon after Valverde became a free agent.

After a few games in the minors is 2013, Detroit resigned Valverde and he has done well in the three total innings he has pitched. In order to regain the confidence of Detroit Fans, Valverde must continue to do as well, which may be hard after his 2012 struggle.