New York Mets: Five recent players we forgot played in Flushing
From 2007-2012, Jose Valverde was one of the best closers in baseball. He began his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks and had a breakout year in 2007. That season, he led the NL with 47 saves, compiling a 2.66 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 64.1 innings. He was rewarded for his success with an All-Star selection and finishing in the top 10 and top 20 in Cy Young and MVP voting, respectively.
Valverde went on to have several more fantastic years, with the Houston Astros and then with the Detroit Tigers. His 2011 season in Detroit was particularly stellar, as he finished with a 2.33 ERA and led the AL in games appeared in, games finished, and saves. Unfortunately, his regular-season success never translated into postseason glory, leaving him with a 9.82 ERA in 14 playoff appearances through the 2012 season.
The Tigers released Valverde in 2013, and the Mets signed him in February 2014, presumably hoping he would return to his former glory. With Bobby Parnell recovering from neck surgery at the time, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson justified the signing as a necessary move to shore up the bullpen.
“We were looking for a veteran presence in the bullpen, he does have some experience closing, but this is not a move to displace Bobby Parnell,” said Alderson. “We signed him to a minor league contract and we’ll see how he throws in spring training.”
Unfortunately, Valverde was still not the pitcher he was in 2007. He made 21 appearances in Flushing, adding up to a 5.66 ERA with two saves in four opportunities. The Amazins ended up releasing him on May 26, 2014, on the same day as they fired hitting coach Dave Hudgens.
Despite Valverde’s ineffectiveness, good pitching still dominated the 2014 Mets headlines thanks to the emergence of Jacob deGrom.