Jose Valverde Signing Muddles Detroit Tigers' Picture

Zac SnyderContributor IJanuary 14, 2010

PHOENIX - JUNE 14:  Releif pitcher Jose Valverde #47 of the Houston Astros pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the major league baseball game at Chase Field on June 14, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Astros defeated the Diamondbacks 8-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers have reportedly signed free agent closer Jose Valverde.

I'm not quite sure what to think about it.

The move seems to make little sense in light of the organization's decision to let Fernando Rodney walk in free agency. Rodney went on to sign a contract with the Angels that will pay him less than what Jose Valverde will make in Detroit.

The numbers certainly suggest Valverde is the better pitcher, but does the move make sense given the current state of the Detroit Tigers' organization?

Prior to today it seemed the focus was to stem the tide with the bad contracts, unload the long term commitments with trade value and stockpile talent to propel the Tigers into contention in 2011.

Adding Jose Valverde for $7 million per season doesn't seem to fit within that framework.

The move will certainly be met with a great deal of criticism as fans have had to endure an offseason headlined by the departure of many popular Tigers. Many coped by recognizing the realities of a difficult economic climate, willing to learn the some new faces as the franchise sought firm financial standing.

What are we as fans supposed to think now? Does this move suggest we should hold high expectations for the upcoming season? Does it mean confidence in the front office is misplaced?

Take a deep breath Tigers fans, I think this is a perfect situation for a "wait and see" approach.

While the Tigers may not be favorites to win the American League Central, it might not be too far fetched to suggest they can compete; no one will mistake the division for the AL East. Given the outside chance at playing meaningful games well into August, I'd rather have a bona fide closer on the roster.

All may not be lost even if the Tigers find themselves out of contention by the All-Star break. What is it that nearly ever contender is looking at the trade deadline? Bullpen help.

Jose Valverde's new contract comes with relatively friendly terms. Considering Kerry Wood made $10 million and Francisco Cordero made $12 million, Valverde might be a perfect candidate to be dealt for prospects.

It doesn't seem like Dave Dombrowski's nature to sign a free agent to dangle as trade bait but it is worth noting that this story could have multiple happy endings.