Exiled closer Jose Valverde will return to the Detroit Tigers' bullpen after the team announced it had purchased his one-year minor league contract on Wednesday.
Valverde, nicknamed "Papa Grande," suffered an epic professional meltdown during the Tigers' 2012 postseason, allowing nine runs in less than three innings, according to MLive.
His performance was so bad, he even got his own meme.
Valverde finished his contract last season and didn't sign elsewhere. Instead, he found himself down in the minors, where he signed a one-year-contract with the Tigers' Class A-affiliate in Lakeland, Fla.
Many had written off Papa Grande. But after his signing, he pitched three scoreless innings, reports the Detroit Free Press. His high-powered sports agent, Scott Boras, was telling the Tigers that Valverde's velocity and split-finger fastball were back.
And without a likely replacement in the closer slot, Detroit management announced Wednesday that the 35-year-old ballplayer had earned back his place on the Tigers' 40-man roster. Pitcher Brayan Villareal will be sent down to the Tigers' AAA club in Toledo to make room for Valverde. The Tigers are scheduled to play the Kansas City Royals at home on Wednesday and Thursday after rain cancelled the series opener on Tuesday.
While opinions on the signing were naturally divided on Twitter, the vehemence of countless responses shows that plenty of baseball lovers haven't yet forgiven Valverde for his performance during the 2012 playoffs.
True, we all felt let down after the magic of 2011. Papa Grande was literally perfect that year, setting a new club record for most completed saves with 49 in the regular season. Or maybe they're still seeing flashbacks of those three blown postseason saves, culminating in the Tigers' sweep by the San Francisco Giants in the World Series.
Either way, we're finding it "grande" hypocritical that Detroiters who are constantly touting this city's redemption and rebirth won't extend a second chance to their former ace.
What do you think? Is the Valverde viral vitriol understandable, or way overblown? Check out 15 of the angriest and funniest reactions we could find on Twitter, and let us know what you think.