Tigers pick up team option on Valverde's contract
Valverde was a perfect 49-for-49 in save chances during the regular season, then went 3-for-3 in the postseason for the Tigers, just the third MLB closer in history to record more than 40 saves without blowing one. Eric Gagne ('03) and Brad Lidge ('08) were the others.
Along the way, Valverde broke Guillermo Hernandez's club record for consecutive saves (set at 32 in 1984), and Todd Jones' club record for saves in a season (set at 42 in 2000). The season earned Valverde a spot on the American League All-Star team midseason for the second year in a row, as well as the MLB Delivery Man of the Year Award, given annually to the game's best reliever.
The Tigers signed Valverde as a free agent from the Houston Astros in January of 2010, giving him a two-year, $14 million contract, with an option for a third year. The option will raise his annual salary slightly from $7 million in 2011 to $9 million next year.
Given his two-year total of 78 saves, and considering the underwhelming crop of closers on the free-agent market (many of them either coming off injury or poor seasons), it's entirely unsurprising the Tigers stuck with a known commodity.