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.

Astros trade Jake Marisnick to the Mets

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The Mets and Astros have announced that they’ve completed a trade. The Mets will get outfielder Jake Marisnick from the Astros in exchange for outfielder Kenedy Corona and lefty Blake Taylor.

Marisnick, a seven-year big league veteran, has never hit all that much — his career line is .227/.280/.380 — but he’s a very strong defender at all three outfield positions and can run a good bit. That makes him a decent bench option at least. To the extent the Mets rely on him to be more than a bench guy they’ll get diminishing returns, but the Astros used him a good deal more than your standard 4-5th outfielder and that worked out fine. Really, having a no-hit, plus-defending center fielder is something that even contenders can deal with, even if you’d like some more offense.

Taylor is organizational depth. He turns 25 next season and has only pitched 50 innings above A-ball. Corona was an international signee last year so he’s not near contributing to a contender like Houston.