Papa Grande in the Big Apple: Mets sign Jose Valverde

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Jose Valverde was rumored to be signing with the Diamondbacks back in December, but that never happened and now the longtime closer has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Mets.

Valverde saved 35 games with a 3.78 ERA for the Tigers in 2012, but his secondary numbers showed a pitcher in significant decline and sure enough last season he threw 19 bad innings before being released in early August.

He has 286 career saves, including leading the league three times, but at this point in his career Valverde should be strictly a middle relief option and even that might be a stretch at age 36. He’ll join fellow minor-league signing Kyle Farnsworth in competing for a roster spot during spring training.

Brewers to give Mike Moustakas a look at second base

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The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.

The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.

This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.

Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.