Cheap Seats

Rumor Mill: Jose Valverde

According to Yahoo's Tim Brown, the Cardinals have made a contract offer to former Astros and Diamondbacks closer Jose Valverde.

That's something of a surprise since the Cardinals only have about $7 or $8 million left in the kitty to find a fourth outfielder, a fifth starter, a utility infielder and bullpen help. But there is little doubt that the Cardinals bullpen would be greatly improved with the addition of Valverde in the ninth inning and Ryan Franklin moved to the eighth.

Valverde saved 44 or more games in two of the last seasons and has averaged well more than a strikeout per inning. Last season he pitched with Houston in the band box formerly known as Ten Run Field and managed a 2.33 ERA. He gave up 40 hits and 21 walks in 54 innings pitched in 2009.

But I doubt the Cardinals willingness to spend all of their money in one place with other obvious needs... And also their willingness to give up a first round draft pick as compensation for signing Valverde.

The only way I see it happen is if the Birds raise the payroll to $110 million in anticipation of Albert Pujols' contract extension and sign Valverde to a one-year deal.

Detroit has a more obvious need for a closer and presumbly more money to spend since it shed the contracts of Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco. But, while the Tigers are said to have the largest offer on the table, their GM said a deal is not close. It would seem to me that Valverde could be out of the Cardinals price range even if they spend all they have left.