MLB: AP source: Tigers, Valverde agree to 2-year deal
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
The Detroit Tigers have found their closer.
Jose Valverde and the Tigers reached a preliminary agreement on a $14 million, two-year contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday night because the team hadn't made an announcement, said the deal includes a $9 million option for 2012 and is subject to a physical.
Valverde saved 25 games in 29 chances for Houston last season, then filed for free agency. He was 4-2 with a 2.33 ERA in 52 appearances.
Before that, the right-hander led the NL in saves in consecutive seasons. He had 47 with Arizona in 2007 and 44 for the Astros in 2008.
Detroit desperately needed a closer after choosing not to re-sign relievers Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon. Rodney received an $11 million, two-year contract from the Los Angeles Angels, and Lyon signed with Houston for $15 million over three years.
The 30-year-old Valverde is 19-19 with a 3.17 ERA and 167 saves in seven major league seasons — five with the Diamondbacks and two with Houston. He was an All-Star in 2007, when he won the Rolaids Relief Man Award in the NL and finished sixth in Cy Young Award voting.
Valverde is a Type A free agent. He turned down a salary arbitration offer from the Astros, so they would receive compensation for his departure in this year's amateur draft.
AP Sports Writers Ronald Blum and Mike Fitzpatrick contributed to this report.