Jose Valverde coughed up four runs in less than inning of work in Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday night at Yankee Stadium and now has a brutal 8.79 career postseason ERA. But the Detroit coaching staff is apparently not ready to make a change.
According to beat writer Chris Iott of MLive.com, manager Jim Leyland said Sunday morning that Valverde won’t be used in Game 2 of the ALCS but is not done getting save opportunities this October.
“He doesn’t deserve to become a dart board,” said the veteran Tigers skipper. “Jose Valverde is still a huge part of this team.”
Valverde registered a 3.78 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 69 innings during the regular season, converting 35-of-40 save chances. The 34-year-old right-hander is scheduled to hit the free agent market next month.
The Mariners are in the midst of reconstructing their roster, a process which most recently resulted in the trade of first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnación to the Yankees, per a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. While the teams have yet to publicly confirm the deal, the Mariners are expected to receive pitching prospect Juan Then and will likely eat a significant portion of Encarnación’s salary as well.
Encarnación is a sizable get for the Yankees, who could benefit from the veteran’s power and consistency in their ongoing drive toward the postseason. The 36-year-old infielder missed some time with a bout of lower back tightness, dental issues, and soreness in his left hand, but has still maintained a decent .241/.356/.531 batting line with an AL-best 21 home runs, an .888 OPS, and 1.7 fWAR through his first 289 plate appearances of the year. Per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Encarnación has another $11-12 million left on his contract in 2019, with a $20 million option for the 2020 season and a $5 million buyout.
Then, 19, was acquired by the Yankees in a three-person trade with the Mariners during the 2017 offseason. The right-hander currently ranks no. 27 in the Yankees’ system and made his last pro ball appearance for New York’s rookie-level affiliate in 2018, pitching to a 2.70 ERA, 2.0 BB/9, and 7.6 SO/9 across 50 innings. It’s not clear if any other players are involved in the trade, though USA Today’s Bob Nightengale notes that no other prospects are thought to be included in the package for Encarnación.