Tigers-Valverde reunion didn't make sense in February, but does now
When spring training began, even Jose Valverde's biggest supporters agreed the Tigers couldn't bring him back. Thursday, they brought him back. What changed?
Thursday, the Tigers brought Valverde back, agreeing to sign their former closer to a minor-league deal.
It's pretty obvious, isn't it? What changed is that the season has begun, the Tigers still don't have a closer and Valverde still didn't have a job.
Valverde wasn't the perfect choice. What happened last October, when Valverde was so bad that manager Jim Leyland had to pull him from the closer job, still hangs over him. If he shows up at Comerica Park and blows a save, you can bet the fan reaction won't be good.
But Leyland has always remained a Valverde supporter. Leyland has also always believed in closers, and right now he doesn't have one. Phil Coke got the first two Tiger save opportunities, converting one and blowing one, but he's not a closer.
Valverde missed all of spring training because he didn't have a job, so he'll report to the Tigers' spring facility in Lakeland, Fla. Eventually, he's sure to get a chance in Detroit.
Two months ago, there was no reason to think this reunion could work, or even that it could happen.
Now, it's easy to understand why the Tigers (and Valverde) are willing to give it a shot.
Our Latest Stories
The Red Sox missed an opportunity to clinch the AL East title as well
Here's a look at the postseason race standings with five days left in the regular season
Diaz grew up with Fernandez
Fernandez's family will hold a public viewing on Wednesday
Kluber will be ready to return in 7-10 days
The good news: they were able to find the ring