The Detroit Tigers and relief pitcher Jose Valverde have agreed to a 2-year contact worth $14 million dollars with a $9 million dollar option for 2012. The closer has spent the last two seasons in Houston serving as the closer, including 44 saves in 2008.
Valverde will join the bullpen as the closer after former Tigers' closer Fernando Rodney signed with the Los Angeles Angles. The 31 year old Dominican Republic native has been one of the most consistent closers in baseball, leading the National League in saves in both 2007 and 2008. His 116 saves in the past three seasons has him tied for fourth among closers, trailing only Francisco Rodriguez, Joe Nathan and Francisco Cordero.
Since the reliever is a Type A free agent, the signing will cost the Tigers' a first-round pick in this summer's First-Year players draft. The 19th overall selection will go to the Houston Astros, who offered a contract last month but Valverde declined looking for a multiyear deal.
This article originally appeared on UnpluckedSports by contributor Patrick Baker.