Despite Howry, D’Backs still keeping tabs on Valverde
The Diamondbacks have reportedly come to terms with veteran reliever Bob Howry, but it won’t preclude them from continuing to monitor free agent right-hander Jose Valverde,Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.Valverde, 30, was originally signed by the Diamondbacks in 1997 and posted a 3.29 ERA over five big league seasons in the desert before being traded to the Astros in December of 2007. He tallied a 2.93 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 69 saves in Houston, but so far the market for the Type A free agent has been slow to develop. Contenders have likely balked at the price tag, but because the Diamondbacks finished at 70-92 last season, their first-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft is protected. They would have to surrender a second-round pick should they sign Valverde.
While the possible addition of Valverde would give the Diamondbacks the makings of lock-down bullpen, with Chad Qualls as the incumbent for ninth-inning duties, a reunion would only be possible on Arizona’s terms. Frankly, they’d be better off allocating the salary towards the recently non-tendered Kelly Johnson. They’ll be inching close to their budgetary limits should he agree to the one-year, $2 million offer reportedly on the table.