This is moving along rather quickly. The Detroit News is pushing the Tigers to sign Valverde.
What's borderline amusing about the Tigers is that they have a sellout crowd of pitchers five weeks before spring camp opens in Lakeland, Fla., and no real closer.
Dave Dombrowski, the Tigers general manager who seems not to find this situation at all humorous, understands the need to lash down a genuine ninth-inning shutdown reliever in the aftermath of Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon signing with new teams for 2010.
Reporter Lynn Henning also quotes an anonymous NL scout:
"As far as I'm concerned, he was the best closer available this year," the scout said. "He throws strikes, he knows his role, and he understands his job is to get people out as quick as he can. I would never have a problem with Valverde as a closer. He's basically a fastball pitcher whose ball has a lot of life at the plate. It will either bore in, or rise, and he really doesn't need anything else. The split (split-finger fastball) is fine, and if he gets into a situation where he needs it, he'll use it. But I'm actually sometimes amazed at how he can throw 15 fastballs in a row and get three guys out. He repeats his delivery very well. And, if you do that, you're going to throw more strikes. Most pitchers can't do that -- somebody (hitter) is going to time him. But when he comes into a game, it's over."
And so Valverde is being romanced by a Tigers team that otherwise loves its potential pitching depth heading into spring camp.
I'm betting that Valverde is a long-walks-on-the-beach kind of guy...
And MLB.com's Jason Beck has some info on the Tigers and Valverde:
The Tigers currently stand as the most interested and most logical destination for free-agent closer Jose Valverde, if they can find common ground on a contract. Not all of the price Detroit would pay, however, would be written in the fine print.
When it comes to giving up a Draft pick to sign Valverde, though, the Tigers are set up to handle it better this year than most.