Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Valverde, Delgado, McGwire

It's beginning to look like Jose Valverde is going to end up as a closer after all.  All reports the past few days have Valverde landing in Detroit very soon, presumably to take over the closer's role vacated by the departed Fernando Rodney.  If he does end up with the Tigers, we'll likely be forecasting around 30 saves.  The main impact of such a signing would be the instant downgrade to both Joel Zumaya and Ryan Perry, both of whom seemed to be the primary closer candidates if the Tigers did not go out and sign someone.

I've been keeping my eye on reports related to Carlos Delgado recently as he's been playing in Puerto Rico trying to show everyone that he's healthy enough to play in 2010.  Our latest forecast for him wasn't particularly optimistic (mid-.260s hitter with only around 200 AB and 10 HR) but that's mostly not so much the risk of injury as it is the uncertainty about whether he'll even find a team and what role he would find.  Put him on a team which can commit to him as a regular player and we'd be upgrading him to a still-risky 120-130 games or so with 20+ home runs and 70-75 RBI.  He's not the player he was even two years ago but he could still help someone and an almost-entirely missed 2009 will reduce him to a likely bargain.

At least a few readers were wondering what my take is on the whole Mark McGwire affair.  It might surprise and disappoint readers but I really don't have a strong opinion on the matter either way.  If I am asked whether I believe those who do have a say will ever put him in the Hall of Fame, I would have already said no based on how he's done in the voting so far and that's even before yesterday's admission about steroid use.  What's going to be interesting in the coming years is to see how the likes of Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds fare when they face similar scrutiny on the first ballot.  In particular, these two will be so interesting because both players have outright denied using steroids whereas McGwire simply wouldn't "talk about the past" and never denied using steroids to the degree Clemens and Bonds did.  In other words, will the presumption of guilt associated with Clemens and/or Bonds be enough to defy their own outright denials?  I suspect it will but we'll see.