Valverde had 35 saves during the regular season, but he blew two during the Tigers’ playoff run and was removed from the role in favor of a closer-by-committee approach. A free agent after the season, Valverde had been unable to find work despite six consecutive years in the closer’s role, the last three with Detroit.
The team announced Thursday, though, that it had signed Valverde to a minor league contract, assigning him to extended spring training in Lakeland, Fla. Joaquin Benoit is first on the team’s depth chart at closer, while longtime closer Octavio Dotel is also on the team’s roster.
Despite his 35 saves in 2012, Valverde had his highest ERA in seven seasons, at 3.78, and saw his strikeout rate fall to a career-low of 6.3 per nine innings.[tweet https://twitter.com/tigers/status/319849173786710017 align=’center’]