Tigers manager shocked on Valverde’s unemployment
Detroit, MI, United States (4E Sports) – Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland admitted on Thursday he’s surprised former closer Jose Velverde is still unemployed at this point of the offseason.
Leyland, who steered the Tigers to the World Series only to lose to the San Francisco Giants in four games, said he’s shocked and at the same time broken hearted that his former closer hasn’t signed a deal with a new team even though spring training has already started.
“I’m shocked, totally shocked,” Leyland said Thursday. “Broken-hearted. Can’t believe it. This guy was absolutely fantastic, absolutely fantastic for us.
Leyland believes Valverde was immense for them during his three-year tenure with the Tigers. The 34-year-old Valverde recorded 35 saves last season but his ERA plummeted to a 3.78 ERA.
One of the best teammates I’ve ever managed. He did as good a job … for three years in a row, he had the most saves and the best percentage. I can’t believe it.”
Valverde’s stock apparently dropped after blowing five saves last season and his listless play in the postseason allowed Phil Coke to replace him as the team’s primary closer.
The New York Mets and the Miami Marlins have shown interest in signing Valverde, but the two-time All-Star remains a free-agent up to now.