Tigers unconditionally release Jose Valverde

Consider this the end of the Papa Grande era in Detroit — for now.

The Detroit Tigers announced today the unconditional release of relief pitcher Jose Valverde, who had been pitching in Triple-A Toledo after losing his closing job in the majors in June.

Valverde ends his Tigers career with 119 saves in 130 chances over the past four seasons. (Detroit Free Press).

A hiccup in late May led to a quick downfall in June, with Valverde’s last appearance for the team on June 19 becoming a five-hit, four-run inning. Everyone with the organization said the right things about going down to the minors to fix a few issues, but it seemed apparent the likelihood of Valverde becoming anything like his pre-2012 self was pretty low. At the time of his demotion his ERA had climbed to 5.59.

With Joaquin Benoit and Jose Veras joined at the back of the pen by a successful Drew Smyly, the Tigers really had no where to put Valverde unless he was interested in middle relief. He may not have been. Even if he had, his numbers in Toledo (4.09 ERA in 11 innings, 1.82 WHIP) were not selling his case real well. When Jeremy Bonderman was added to the organization and not long after joined the Tigers, you knew how Valverde’s story would end. (Bless You Boys)

Valverde, 35, signed a minor league deal with Detroit in April and briefly returned to the team earlier this season. He went 9 for 12 in save chances with an ugly 5.59 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 19 1/3 innings. The Tigers removed him from the roster in June.

In 11 games with the team’s Triple-A affiliate, Valverde saved seven games with a 4.09 ERA in 11 innings. He also made three tuneup appearances with the club’s Single-A affiliate in Florida after signing. (CBS Sports)

The most notable failure was in Kansas City, when Valverde surrendered a two-run, game-tying home run to Lorenzo Cain when the Tigers were one strike away from victory.
The final straw for Valverde was June 19’s outing, when he surrendered four runs and five hits to the Baltimore Orioles in a non-save situation in the ninth inning. (WXYZ)

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