Don’t let the title of this post fool you, as the Tigers brass has picked Jose Valverde over Fernando Rodney. When Rodney left, we assumed it was solely an issue of cost. This apparently was not the answer. The Tigers must not have been convinced that Rodney was built to be their closer. I don’t think I disagree.
That being said, I’m not a huge fan of the Valverde signing. The money sort of bugs me (as much as someone else’s money can bother a guy) and the giving up of the 19th pick really grinds my gears. Oh well. The Tigers hedged their bets in a way, by picking up two supplemental picks when they lost Rodney and Brandon Lyon.
Here’s a look at the 2007-2009 numbers for both Valverde and Rodney:
- ERA: Valverde 2.84, Rodney 4.48
- ERA+: Valverde 155, Rodney 102
- WHIP: Valverde 1.14, Rodney 1.45
- K/9: Valverde 10.3, Rodney 8.9
- BB/9: Valverde 3.3, Rodney 5.0
- Saves: Valverde 116, Rodney 51
- 2010 Salary: Valverde $7M, Rodney $5.5M
I think Valverde is an upgrade over Rodney. I still don’t think this deal makes sense at all. I think Rob Neyer (my favorite) described the deal perfectly. Peep this:
But this strikes me as a monumentally poor use of $14 million and a first-round draft choice. Not because Valverde’s a useless pitcher; he’s actually quite useful. But a pitcher like Valverde — any relief pitcher, really — should be the final ingredient. You fill all the other holes you can fill, and when you’re satisfied with your catchers and your first baseman and your second baseman and your shortstop and your third baseman and your three outfielders and your four best starting pitchers … When you’re satisfied that you’ve done everything you can possibly do at all those spots, then you start worrying about the guy who’s going to pitch 65 or 70 innings.
If you’ve done all that and you’ve still got $14 million rattling around in your pocket, sure, by all means, go sign Jose Valverde and fork over a draft pick. But the Tigers haven’t done all that. In a year or two, this may be a really, really tough move to justify.
For more on this signing and a bunch of negative thoughts: