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Despite Howry, D'Backs still keeping tabs on Valverde

Dec 27, 2009, 1:39 PM EDT

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.

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