The New York Mets and relief pitcher Jose Valverde have agreed to a minor-league contract which includes an invite to Major League Spring Training, the team announced on Wednesday. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Valverde can make up to $1 million if he makes the Major League club.
The 35-year-old Valverde had trouble in his 20 games with the Detroit Tigers in 2013. He went 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA and a 1.241 WHIP (76 ERA+) in 19 1/3 innings pitched. Valverde has pitched well in the past, going 2-4 while posting a 2.24 ERA and a 1.189 WHIP (185 ERA+) in 75 games with the Tigers. This included an American League leading 49 saves. Over Valverde's career, he has 286 saves while posting a 138 ERA+ in 609 2/3 innings pitched with the Arizona Diamondbacks (2003-2007), the Houston Astros (2008-2009), and the Detroit Tigers (2010-2013).
Valverde is a very good gamble for the Mets to take, especially on a minor-league contract. If he can revert back to even eighty percent of what he has been in the past, he could prove to be a very valuable signing come down the stretch for the Mets. If they are on the brink of punching a postseason, Valverde may be able to pitch and succeed when it is needed, in the late innings of close ballgames.