Tigers rumors: Jim Leyland still wants Jose Valverde

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

If it were up to Jim Leyland, Jose Valverde would be back already. The Detroit Tigers' manager has expressed his desire to have the club's former closer back on the roster.

If it weren't for the salary involved, the Detroit Tigers may have already brought back Jose Valverde. If it weren't for front offices and payrolls and logic, Jim Leyland may have already convinced the club to bring back Valverde. Fortunately for Tigers' fans, all of those things are in place. The team can't afford to misfire on Valverde coming back.

Leyland has expressed interest in bringing his former closer back to Detroit says Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Leyland did not say he'd like Valverde to be the team's closer, and there's a chance the club would use him in a reduced capacity. Valverde could be a nice back-up plan should the bullpen suffer any injuries or struggles.

The type of struggles Valverde had last season were similar to those he had in Arizona before the Diamondbacks shipped him out. Valverde had his ups and downs, and he will continue to have them throughout the rest of his career, but he has proven that when right he can be dominant. He was perfect in save attempts in 2011, but he was far from it in 2012.

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Valverde has pitched in the Majors for 10 seasons now. He has played for the Diamondbacks, the Houston Astros, and the Tigers. With the Tigers, Valverde made it all the way to the World Series and has pitched in the postseason in each of the last two seasons. However, Valverde wore out his welcome last year and failed to earn a contract extension.

The Tigers granted Valverde free agency after losing to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. Valverde, who is represented by Bill Rego, has had a tough time generating interest among clubs throughout the league. He did not receive a qualifying offer from the Tigers, so draft pick compensation is not in question. He is asking for a high salary, though.

Valverde, who owns a career 3.11 ERA, may have to lower his asking price before he lands anywhere. He has 277 saves in his career, but at 34 years old teams are probably not going to pay a premium for his services.

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