Jose Valverde remains unsigned and except for a report linking him to the Marlins that was immediately shot down as being fueled by agent Scott Boras there’s been little even linking him to teams.
That’s surprising, because while Valverde’s performance has clearly declined he did save 35 games last season and a league-leading 49 games in 2011. Once upon a time those save totals alone would have been enough to keep him employed, but the closer role has (rightfully) lost some of its mystique.
Meanwhile, the Tigers haven’t decided who’ll replace him as closer and when asked about Valverde’s status manager Jim Leyland told Jayson Stark of ESPN.com that he’s “broken-hearted” and “totally shocked” to see him unsigned in mid-February.
Of course, presumably Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski consulted with Leyland before deciding not to re-sign Valverde and despite an uncertain ninth-inning situation the manager isn’t broken-hearted enough to make a late push to bring back Valverde.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen gave up three runs in the top of the ninth inning during Sunday’s game against the Braves, blowing his first save since August 26 last season. He had converted 34 consecutive saves.
Jansen yielded back-to-back singles to lead off the ninth inning, staked to a 4-1 lead. After getting two outs, Matt Adams hit a three-run home run down the right field line to knot the game at four apiece.
After Sunday’s lackluster performance, Jansen is now 24-for-25 in save chances this season with a 1.49 ERA and a 62/2 K/BB ratio in 42 1/3 innings.
Orioles closer Zach Britton finished Sunday’s 9-7 victory over the Astros with a scoreless ninth inning, earning his sixth save of the season. He has now earned the save in 55 consecutive opportunities dating back to September 2015, setting a new American League record. Tom Gordon previously held the record with 54 consecutive saves. Eric Gagne holds the major league record at 84.
Britton’s last blown save came on September 20, 2015, then converted two more saves before the end of the regular season. He went 47-for-47 in save chances last season and is six-for-six so far this year.
Along with his six saves, Britton has a 2.65 ERA and a 13/8 K/BB ratio in 17 innings this season. The lefty came off the disabled list earlier this month after missing two months with a strained left forearm.