The New York Mets should be used to devastating injuries by now, so it comes as no surprise that their closer Bobby Parnell, has been sidelined with a possible torn MCL in his throwing arm. In Parnell’s absence, former Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde, who was slated to be a late-inning reliever or possible setup guy, will assume the closer’s role for the Metropolitans until further notice.
On Opening Day, manager Terry Collins called on Valverde in the seventh inning after Mets relievers had just walked two batters on eight straight balls to blow a lead that starter Dillon Gee worked so valiantly to maintain, and Valverde was able to stop the bleeding by getting the final out to keep the score tied. Now, the Mets are again in a pickle and will call on Valverde to save games.
Valverde can be a dominant pitcher at times, but is often criticized for histrionics on the mound with his open and animated fist-pumps and wild behavior. He has gone through a roller coaster the last few seasons, especially with Detroit.
In 2013, Valverde only pitched 19.1 innings for the Tigers, accumulating a 5.59 ERA which led many to speculate that his career was coming to an end after saving 286 games since breaking into the majors in 2003. In 2011, he saved 49 games with the Tigers, which led the AL, so there is no question “Papa Grande” has displayed prowess for performance in the clutch. However, it will be interesting to see exactly how much he has left in the tank now that he is thrust into a closing role once more.
Fantasy baseball owners who are either skeptical about the closers they already have on their roster or are Parnell owners should target Valverde immediately on the waiver wire as he went almost entirely undrafted in 2014. He will be picked up very quickly.