When Jose Valverde inked a two-year contract with the Tigers back in January of 2010, little did he know that the $9 million club option that was included for the 2012 season would cost him millions more.

Had he reached free agency last offseason (the Tigers picked up his club option), Valverde would've brought these credentials to the negotiating table: 32 years old, 242 career saves, 191 saves and a 90-percent save percentage from 2007-11, 49-for-49 in save opportunities in 2011, three-time All Star, two top-six finishes in Cy Young voting, career 3.02 ERA, career 3.8 BB/9, career 10.4 K/9, career 0.9 HR/9.

More importantly, there were no obvious red flags that showed Valverde was on the decline, as was the case of fellow 30-something closers Heath Bell and Francisco Cordero, who had each experienced a drop in strikeout rate. Top free-agent closer Jonathan Papelbon, only 16 months younger than Valverde, received a four-year, $50 million deal from the Phillies, while Bell, 14 months older than Valverde, signed a three-year, $27 million dollar deal with the Marlins.