UPDATE: Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald now says Rojas’ report is “utterly false.” So, you know, I maybe wrote all that brilliant, cutting edge analysis for nothing.
Jose Valverde is close to signing a one-year deal with the Marlins, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.
Valverde lost his closer job in Detroit at the end of last season and predictably failed to garner much interest as a 34-year-old free agent after his strikeout rate plummeted to a career-low 6.3 per nine innings.
Still, he saved 35 games with a 3.78 ERA last season and has averaged 38 saves during the past six years, so the Marlins get a cheap closer option and Valverde gets an opportunity to bounce back while fighting Steve Cishek for save chances on a non-contending team.
Plus, his post-save theatrics will look especially ridiculous on a last-place team.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.