Tigers right-hander Jose Valverde has been dreadful this postseason, yielding seven earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings. But he wants to participate in the World Series and thinks he is ready to be more effective.
According to beat writer Jason Beck of MLB.com, Valverde made around 20 throws in a simulated game against Tigers minor leaguers on Saturday afternoon at a crowdless Comerica Park and noticed significant improvement with his delivery.
“A lot,” said Valverde. “I open too much. I do too much stuff with my hands. That’s what I’ve been working on the last couple days with [pitching coach Jeff Jones], and now it’s over.”
Phil Coke served as the Tigers’ closer-by-default last round against the Yankees and will probably remain in that role for the Fall Classic. But a refreshed Valverde would be nice for the Detroit ‘pen.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.