Leyland denies Valverde rumor, says it was never discussed
On the day the Tigers shelved Bruce Rondon for a few days to throw a side session and work out some mechanical tweaks, Leyland reiterated his stance that he doesn’t know who his closer is going to be, that they declared anybody. One thing that is not in the mix, though, is Jose Valverde.
Though a tweet last week from Joel Sherman suggested Leyland was interested in signing Valverde but that the price was too high, Leyland said that is not the case.
“It has not been discussed at all,” Leyland said.
Leyland said much the same and more on CBS Sports radio this morning. Another baseball source that has spoken with the Tigers in recent days echoed that.
The Tigers had a chance to sign Valverde as a free agent this offseason and chose not to pursue him, Leyland pointed out. Leyland has recommended Valverde to more than one team that has asked about him, but has known all offseason he wasn’t coming back to Detroit. Early Spring Training struggles from Rondon weren’t going to change that.
The Valverde rumor sounded a lot like the Rafael Soriano rumors that popped up now and then earlier in the offseason.
As for who will close, Leyland is leaving open a lot of internal options, including Rondon.
“Nobody is writing off Rondon,” Leyland said. “It’s way, way too early for that.”
Leyland said he would prefer to go with one set closer rather than a bullpen by committee, because it takes away a lot of the second guessing. But he’s pretty much open to ideas. Even the idea of Rick Porcello as a closer wasn’t entirely dismissed.
“I don’t know if that’s necessarily a wild thought,” Leyland said.