Mets

Mets Sign Former Elite Closer Jose Valverde To Minor-League Deal

Jose Valverde (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Jose Valverde (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Mets have signed right-handed pitcher Jose Valverde to a minor-league deal, the club announced on Wednesday.

The reliever has received an invitation to major-league spring training. If he makes the club, the 35-year-old will make $1 million, according to WFAN/CBSSports.com baseball insider Jon Heyman. He can also make $1.5 million in performance bonuses, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com

Valverde, who debuted in the majors with the Diamondbacks in 2003, was an All-Star in 2007, 2010 and 2011. He won the Delivery Man of the Year Award in 2011 and is a two-time Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award winner (2007 and 2011) and three-time saves champion (2007, 2008 and 2011).

Nicknamed “Papa Grande,” Valverde struggled last season with Detroit. He only appeared in 20 games, posting a 5.59 ERA in 19 1/3 innings and converting nine of 12 save opportunities. The once-elite closer was designated for assignment on June 21 and then released on August 7.

Valverde had a perfect season out of the bullpen for the Tigers in 2011, converting all 49 of his save opportunities. He pitched to a 2.24 ERA that season, striking out 69 and walking 34.

General manager Sandy Alderson, looking for veteran bullpen help, signed Kyle Farnsworth to a minor-league contract on February 3.

Free-agent relief pitchers David Aardsma, Scott Atchison and LaTroy Hawkins signed with other clubs this offseason, and Tim Byrdak, Pedro Feliciano and Frank Francisco aren’t expected to be brought back.

Valverde and Farnsworth will compete for spots in a bullpen that currently consists of Scott Rice, Vic Black, Gonzalez Germen, Josh Edgin, Jeurys Familia and Bobby Parnell.

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