Detroit Tigers sign Jose Valverde

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

The Detroit Tigers have signed right-handed reliever Jose Valverde to a minor league contract.

The Detroit Tigers have signed right-handed reliever Jose Valverde to a minor league contract, according to Patrick Reusse of 1500 ESPN.

The contract offers no guarantee that Valverde will reach the majors, and it includes an opt-out clause that the right-hander can exercise on May 5, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com. In the meantime, Valverde will report to extended spring training.

General manager Dave Dombrowski told reporters -- including John Lowe of The Detroit Free Press -- that he'd been in contact with Valverde and agent Scott Boras for weeks. The Tigers were only interested in a reunion with their former closer on a minor league contract, and when he agreed to meet their terms a deal was quickly reached.

Valverde had been the Tigers' closer for the past three seasons prior to parting ways with the club over the winter. He was solid in 2010 and converted all 49 of his save opportunities in 2011, but he struggled with consistency last season. Ultimately, Detroit removed Valverde from the role of closer in the playoffs.

Over 10 seasons in the majors, Valverde owns a career ERA of 3.11 with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.62. The 35-year-old has posted a mark of 3.00 over the past three seasons.

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