Well, what to do on a rainy day with no baseball? If you are Dave Dombrowski, sign Jose Valverde, that’s what. Jim Leyland didn’t waste any time either: Valverde is coming back as The Closer (“one thing you know about him, he’s done it before”), and you can expect the bullpen to settle into The Role type of bullpen, as The Committee is disbanded. What Rondon’s role will be remains to be seen, and he may just be a placeholder until the team figures out what exactly is going on with Octavio Dotel.
Valverde will be available to close today’s game, if the situation arises, and how can one hope that it will not?
So The Big Potato has come full circle now from The Closer to the Struggling Closer to the Postseason Disaster Closer to The Unsigned and Unloved Former Closer to the Aww What The Heck Minor League Signing to…The Closer. Dave Dombrowski says that “his stuff is back throwing like he did a couple years ago.” Well, we shall see. What is undeniable is that there will not be any dull moments the next time a save situation arises. Jason Beck has an amusing timeline of the circular evolution of Jose Valverde from Tiger Closer to Tiger Closer.
Of course, with Valverde back, someone had to go. Brayan Villarreal was the one thrown onto the bus from Detroit to Toledo. Villarreal has stuff that has been described as “unhittable,” but unfortunately teams have figured out that they don’t need to hit him, and that standing there like a house by the side of the road can actually work when he is on the mound.
The 41st man on the 40-man roster turned out the be the sort-of-forgotten Duane Below, who was Designated For Assignment, and can now be claimed on waivers. The Blue Jays may be his next stop–they have already claimed Aaron Laffey, Casper Wells, Mauro Gomez, and Edgar Gonzalez this month.
Speaking of Casper Wells, The Ghost will be haunting Oakland now. The Blue Jays Designated Wells 5 days after claiming him on waivers, and the Oakland A’s acquired him for “cash considerations” (and moved former Tiger Scott Sizemore to the 60-day DL to make room for him). Wells seems like he would have been a good fit for that RH LF platoon role: he has outstanding numbers against left-handing pitching, and his glove is a plus at all 3 outfield positions. The Tigers have virtually no chance to claim anyone on waivers (every MLB team but one has to pass first), but it seems like they could have come up with “cash considerations.”
And since we’re at it with the former Tigers: Inge is back up with the Pirates (1-4, 2B, RBI). Cue the peanut gallery. And Delmon Young had his first rehab assignment for Philadelphia. Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said that Young is expected to step in as the Phillies’ everyday right fielder, but not until he’s “adequate” in the field.” Oh, stop it Ruben, you’re killin’ me!
Today’s starting pitchers are still Max and Wade, so I will stick with the lucky slump-busting picture.
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Well, Max still figures in the equation, but the POPG obviously has to go to Jose Valverde, whose appearance or non-appearance alike will be the topic of the game.
Today’s Powerless Lineup (reverse jinx in effect):