Well, he finally found a team that wants him. Former Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde, still without a team as 2013 Spring Training has already begun, has been added to the Dominican Republic Team for the World Baseball Classic. Valverde will most likely take the spot of Tampa Bay Rays reliever Joel Peralta, who had to pull out of the tournament due to a stiff neck. The addition of Valverde gives the Dominican Team two established closers, along with Fernando Rodney of the Rays, as well as former closer Octavio Dotel of the Tigers.
Last season was an up-and-down one for Valverde. While he did save 35 games, he blew five save chances after having not blowing a single save chance in 2011. He also saw his ERA rise to 3.78 last season after posting a 2.24 ERA in 2011. He failed to make the American League All-Star team last season after making it in his first two seasons with the Tigers.
Valverde’s demise concluded when he lost his closer job during the 2012 postseason. In Game One of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, Valverde coughed up a 4-0 Tigers lead in the ninth inning in just two-thirds of an inning pitched. The Tigers wound up winning the game 6-4, en route to a series sweep, but Valverde wouldn’t get another save chance the rest of the postseason. It was his second blown save of that postseason, one in which he posted a ghastly 30.38 ERA. He also had a poor postseason in 2011, posting a 7.36 ERA despite nailing down all three of his save chances.
The Dominican Team also added Minnesota Twins starter Samuel Deduno to the roster. Last season, in his rookie year, Deduno posted a 6-5 record with a 4.44 ERA over 79 innings in 15 appearances, all of them starts. Prior to 2012, Deduno had pitched in five and two-thirds major league innings over two seasons for the Colorado Rockies in 2010 and San Diego Padres in 2011. Deduno most likely takes over the roster spot of Oakland Athletics reliever Pedro Figueroa, who dropped out of the tournament to concentrate on earning a spot in the A’s bullpen for the 2013 season. Deduno could be the fourth starter for the Dominican Republic behind Wandy Rodriguez of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Edinson Volquez of the San Diego Padres and Alexi Ogando of the Texas Rangers.