Return of the Big Potato?

One of the more intriguing rumors to be circulating around baseball is the Arizona Diamondbacks interest in closer Jose Valverde. Valverde was a member of the Diamondbacks during their 2007 play-off run but was sent to Houston in exchange for current closer Chad Qualls.

Valverde who was nicknamed Papa Grande during his tenure in Arizona declined salary arbitration from the Houston Astros that would have given him a one-year contract north of $10 million.

His theory was that he would be able to garner a multi-year contract as the best closer on the free agent market. Unfortunately Valverde has found few teams willing to agree to his financial terms or number of years. He may well find himself without a job as pitchers and catchers prepare to report to Spring Training.

If that is the case he may be interested in signing a one-year deal with Arizona to try and build his market value for next year. Arizona’s interest in Valverde shows the team is still nervous about whether Qualls will fully recover from a knee injury he suffered last September.

Should Valverde sign with Arizona he would become their closer with Qualls moving back to become the eighth inning set-up man. The signing of Valverde would probably have a ripple effect where the Diamondbacks would not pursue the trade for C.J. Wilson of the Texas Rangers.

Valverde had success in 2007 with the Diamondbacks but has been susceptible to inconsistency during his career. While he did lead the league in saves, they were not the typical 1-2-3 type innings you would want from a closer.

It was more likely that Valverde would retire the first batter then walk the bases loaded before retiring the final two outs. The result was still a save but everyone in attendance aged by decades every time he entered the game.

I am not sure I have enough blood-pressure medication to be able to deal with another season of Jose Valverde. That being said, it would be nice to have someone with more experience at the back end of the bullpen.



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