Asked about Jose Valverde’s latest terrible outing in Game 1 of the World Series last night, Tigers manager Jim Leyland replied: “You know, he wasn’t terrible. He just wasn’t good.”
That’s about as nice as he could possibly phrase things considering Valverde has now allowed nine runs while recording a grand total of five outs in his last three appearances.
And they may be his final appearances, both of the season and for the Tigers. Valverde replied “you never know, you have to play until it’s over” when asked last night he expected to pitch again versus the Giants, reiterating that he felt his mechanics were improved after making some between-series adjustments with pitching coach Jeff Jones.
It’s worth noting that Valverde’s velocity was plenty good last night, with his fastball consistently clocking in at 92-94 miles per hour, but after striking out pitcher Tim Lincecum the Giants’ actual hitters went double, single, single, single off Valverde before Leyland removed him for Joaquin Benoit.
Valverde insisted that “I never lose my confidence” but even if that’s somehow true the same obviously can’t be said about Leyland’s confidence in the longtime closer and at this point it’d be surprising to see the impending free agent make another appearance for the Tigers.
Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.
Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.
Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.
Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.