Will the Tigers use Jose Valverde in the World Series?

11 Comments

Jose Valverde hasn’t pitched since coughing up four runs in two-thirds of an inning against the Yankees on October 13, with Phil Coke emerging as Jim Leyland’s replacement closer choice.

It’s obviously hard to imagine the Tigers turning back to Valverde as closer at this point, but will they even have enough confidence to use him at all in the World Series?

“I don’t know what’s going to happen from this point on,” Leyland said, via Jason Beck of MLB.com. “Obviously, a lot of people are going to be saying, ‘Save with Coke’ now, but we will play it by ear.”

“We’ll play it by ear” is exactly what Leyland said about the closer situation heading into Game 4 of the ALCS last night and, while there was no save situation to be had thanks to the Tigers blowing out the Yankees, for the third straight game it was Coke on the mound for the final out.

Valverde has allowed 14 runs in 14 career playoff innings and by not getting any mop-up work he’ll have gone 11 days without pitching when the World Series begins Wednesday.

Report: Angels to sign Cody Allen

Jason Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.