Today the New York Mets signed three-time all star reliever Jose Valverde to a minor league contract, with an invitation to Major League spring training. If Valverde makes the team out of spring training the contract is worth $1 million. Valverde has 286 career saves in 11 seasons for the Arizona Diamondback, Detroit Tigers and the Houston Astros. He was an all star selection in the 2007, 2010 and 2011 seasons.
This is a low risk, high reward move for the Meta who have not been shy about their desire to bring in bullpen depth this offseason but have failed to land their two previous targets; Grant Balfour and Fernando Rodney. Both Balfour and Rodney would have been preferable alternatives to Valverde given they have had more recent success at the big league level, “Papa Grande” had only 9 saves last year, but with them off the market GM Sandy Alderson opted for Valverde.
Valverde, who will be 36 at the beginning of the season, has a great deal of big-league closing experience but I doubt that he will fill that role for the Mets this year unless Bobby Parnell either gets injured or falters. This is the type of low-risk, high reward signing that Alderson seems to make prior to every season (Marlon Byrd’s signing last year comes to mind), if Valverde does regain his previous form he could be a valuable piece for the Mets bullpen which was in desperate need of depth.