Valverde Collins

Jose Valverde is a likely part of the big-league bullpen

Mets reliever Jose Valverde is very likely to be in the team’s Opening Day bullpen (Star-Ledger, Mar. 18).

“I don’t know where, but he’s certainly making a very, very strong case for a guy who’s going to pitch in the back side of that bullpen, no doubt,” Terry Collins said Monday.  “He just takes it even keel every day, and if we’re as young as we think we’re going to be we’re going to need that.”

Valverde, 35, signed a minor-league contract with the Mets this past winter, after being released from the Tigers last year with a 5.59 ERA in just 20 games. He was 49-for-49 in save chances with the Tigers in 2011.

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

The more I learn about Valverde, the more I like him. He’s got a big arm, a big personality, a big resume, a lot of experience and little risk (in terms of his contract). Terry Collins said he called Jim Leyland to better understand Valverde’s struggles in 2013. According to Leyland, Valverde is fine, Collins has said. The big problem was that he got Valverde warming up in the bullpen too often, or what coaches call ‘get ups,’ then he never got Valverde in to games. He was often burned out before ever pitching. It happened enough to begin throwing Valverde off his game. Time will tell if this has any impact on a better 2014, but if it does, it will go a long way toward stabilizing what the bullpen, which is a perceived weakness on this team.




21 comments
mets1973
mets1973

This team has a lot of weaknesses. The most glaring is the lack of quality position players. Granderson, at best, is a complementary player. The only quality all around position player is David Wright.  I'm still not sold on d'Arnaud as an offensive force. He showed great growth on the defensive side and in calling the game. As for Tejada, Davis, Duda. They have had four seasons to show growth and improvement and they haven't. Lagares has a golden glove and arm but his bat seems very weak. EY is another good complementary player but CY is probably here for this season only. And the great Nimmo, Cecchini and others are two to three years away. Most scouts still aren't sold on Nimmo as a difference maker.

Bob Burket
Bob Burket

Those 90 wins are looking better every day!

sylow59
sylow59

IOW Leyland misused his bullpen.  Hmm, I thought that only happend with the Mets.

72tilltc
72tilltc

So Leyland warmed him up too much. I hated Leyland for many reasons . The biggest reason is that he gave Terry a job and know nothings think the quitter who could only win with a free agent laden roster was a good manager and his staff as managers in waiting. Thanks Jerk we now have Terry who never wears out vets.

Bob Burket
Bob Burket

Is it just me or does he bring back memories of Armando Benitez, Frank Francisco and Guillermo Mota?  Why do we keep bringing in these type guys every year or so?

nyijkm
nyijkm

How about we just see what he does first after a sample size. For a Spring sample size he has been nice so far. I have no quarrels with TC using him as set up man because he earned it so far. Vic Black bombed in most of his innings this Spring, Familia/Torres/Lannan are all long relievers and starters, so who the hell else do you guys want to throw in there? Walters and deGrom will get lit up if they start at MLB on Opening Day. Valverde was a good pick up for insurance and will hold the fort until the young guys can assume the role.

Kenneth Meltsner
Kenneth Meltsner

And we know that Terry NEVER overplays the hot hand. John Buck, Tim Byrdak, Pedro Feliciano. How many times did we see this guy implode? He's the second-coming of Armando Benitez (or Mel Rojas or Frank Francisco). But we are stuck with him and nothing is gonna change that.

adam
adam

If he's our set-up man, God help us. This guy is a loose cannon. One bad call by the umps, and he starts throwing BP fastballs the size of watermelons. 

hashburry
hashburry

It is disconcerting to watch reports on other teams and the young players that are turning heads and surprising people as they become viable options to make big league ball clubs, whereas there are no up and coming names we can look at on the Mets 40 man roster that will have an impact at the beginning of the season, which is pathetic because the old names are not impact players.  But hey, Valverde, now there's something to get excited about.  But it's a great idea to put Montero in the pen and Lanan and/or Dice-K in the rotation to ensure there is nothing to look forward to on opening day.  Niese/Colon/Gee v. Strausberg/Zimmerman/Fister.  Sounds fair.  Knife to a gunfight, anyone?

BringBackDaveTelghe
BringBackDaveTelghe

Nowhere in the analysis does it mention the actual problem Valverde had last year - he literally could only throw his fastball and his splitter disappeared.

So.....is his splitter back or no?  If it's not it's lunacy to expect anything different than last year's results.

Mark Kohn
Mark Kohn

@Bob Burket It's just you. All 3 of those weren't as bad as people made them out to be.

nyijkm
nyijkm

i dont think Terry oversued Feliciano; he was only around for less than half the season last year and did quite well in his limited time. I just think that his last few innings he got hit because of age and fatigue.

C Nerrie
C Nerrie

Matthew, do you have any info on this splitter issue? It does seem like it's a crucial part of his story.

Apparently the splitter was important to his success but it stopped working, and that was why the Tigers sent him down last summer:  to get it fixed.

SB Nation, July 4, 2013: "Valverde used it to great success earlier in his career, a fine complement to his four-seam fastball that fell off the table, got whiffs or ended up being hammered onto the ground.  He'd been using it a bit less over the years, but continued to see results.  Last year the pitches began converging.  No longer did the splitter fall off the table, and batters were teeing up for fly balls more often."

Commenter on that thread:  "What Leyland said when he was DFA'd is that he was 'pushing' the splitter up to the plate."

Prophetic note:  before he was sent down last year, he had 4 excellent outings and then a number of disasters.  After the first 3 good ones, there was this note in Eye on the Tigers:"Small samples and it’s still early.  Valverde has thrown a total of 38 pitches in his three appearances; 36 were 4-seam fastballs (94.7%) and only 2 were splitters (5.3%).  Valverde hasn't shown much of anything different so far this year that made him struggle last year, except maybe a few MPH on his fastball in one appearance.  His windup has changed slightly....  The results have been much better, though.  I just wonder how much longer he can keep it up as many people think the key to his success is the rejuvenation of an effective splitter."

hashburry
hashburry

@Dr. James DiTuna  Let go of the 90 wins thing Doc (I assume that is made up with the amount of posts you make or lots of patients dying) or you'll have a stroke.

Kenneth Meltsner
Kenneth Meltsner

@Mark Kohn @Bob BurketNo, Mark. They were worse. Benitez was King of the 3-Run Save. Helped blow a key playoff game vs. Braves and also a World Series game. Seemed to always come up small. Mota was a jerk who should have never been re-signed and Francisco was a slacker and genuinely awful role-model.