Valverde signs with Tigers for two years

Tim Brown
Yahoo! Sports

Closer Jose Valverde's(notes) patience paid off Thursday when he reached an agreement on a two-year, $14 million contract with the Detroit Tigers, a source close to the negotiations told Yahoo! Sports.

Valverde turned down arbitration from the Houston Astros and appeared to have missed out on getting a lucrative free-agent deal. However, the Tigers, desperate for a closer after losing Fernando Rodney(notes) and Brandon Lyon(notes) to free agency, agreed to not only a multi-year deal but also to a $9 million club option for a third year.

The St. Louis Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks also had expressed interest in Valverde, but not at anything close to the price paid by the Tigers. Valverde, 30, is a power pitcher who has averaged 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings the last three seasons.

Valverde had 25 saves and a 2.33 ERA last season for the Houston Astros, who will receive two draft picks as compensation because he was a Type A free agent. The Astros will get the Tigers' first-round pick (19th overall) in June and a pick between the first and second rounds (34th overall).

Valverde was the last reliable closer available in what began as a strong free-agent class at the position. Unsigned Octavio Dotel(notes) and Kevin Gregg(notes) have experience as closers but are better suited as set-up relievers.

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