Going into the 2014 season, it was recognized that the Mets needed to add to their depleted bullpen. When it was announced that they were bringing Jose Valverde in on a minor league deal, many figured he'd fit in nicely as a late-inning reliever. When Bobby Parnell went down with a torn UCL and Valverde took over at closer, most were worried, and rightfully so. It was a short-lived disaster in 2014 for the 36-year-old veteran.
Valverde's Mets career got off to a booming start. On Opening Day against Washington, he stormed through one-and-one-third high-leverage innings, striking out three and walking none. He became the official closer the next day because of Parnell's injury, recording his first save on April 4 against Cincinnati.
Valverde gave up no runs in his first five appearances in a Mets uniform. Then, on April 12 in Anaheim, it all came crashing down. He gave up a game-tying three-run home run to Raul Ibanez in the bottom of the ninth, sending the game to extras. Valverde allowed runs in three of his next five outings, closing out the month of April in inauspicious fashion. He posted a 9.00 ERA and 11.63 FIP while giving up four home runs during this two-week stretch, resulting in him getting stripped of the closer role in favor of Kyle Farnsworth.
Valverde's May wasn't nearly as bad as his April. In his first nine appearances, he pitched to a 3.12 ERA and 2.32 FIP in 8.2 innings with no home runs allowed. Then, on May 26th against Pittsburgh, Valverde's season came to a screeching halt. He allowed the game-tying run to score in the top of the 8th, then gave up three more in the top of the ninth, breaking the game open and effectively ending his Mets career. In desperate need of change, the Mets released Valverde after the game.
His short stint on the Mets produced this final line: 5.66 ERA, 4.87 FIP, 4.35 BB/9, and two blown saves in 20.2 innings. Opposing batters had a .282/.358/.494 slash line against him. Although he was not expected to close games and was forced into the rule due to injuries, this was a buy-low move that backfired, costing the Mets games and taking away playing time from the young relievers of the future. When Valverde was released, the Mets' bullpen became instantaneously better, emerging as one of the team's strengths.
It's safe to say Valverde is not likely pitch in the Mets' organization ever again in the future. His major league career may not be over, however.
Desired 2015 role: Signed to a minor league deal with a team other than the Mets, possibly cracking a major league roster.
Expected 2015 role: Stay a free agent until a team is desperate, or remain stuck in Triple-A for most, if not all of the season.