UPDATE: Heyman now says Valverde has not signed and remains a free agent, adding “I miss-interpreted a text” that led him to believe it was a done deal.
Man, talk about getting the band back together.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that one day after trading for White Sox closer Addison Reed the Diamondbacks have signed Jose Valverde to a minor-league deal, reuniting with the reliever who saved a league-leading 47 games for them way back in 2007.
Arizona traded Valverde to Houston after that season and now he returns trying to save his career following a season in which he pitched just 19 mostly bad innings before being released by Detroit at age 35.
Valverde is just one year removed from saving 35 games with a 3.78 ERA for the Tigers, but even then his secondary numbers had deteriorated and Papa Grande’s odds of succeeding as more than a middle reliever seem pretty slim at this point.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.
A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.
Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.
Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.