A person familiar with the negotiations says closer Jose Valverde and the Detroit Tigers have reached a preliminary agreement on a $14 million, two-year contract.
The person, who spoke Thursday night on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t made an announcement, said the deal includes a $9 million option for 2012 and is subject to a physical.
Valverde saved 25 games in 29 chances for Houston last season, then filed for free agency. He was 4-2 with a 2.33 ERA in 52 appearances.
Before that, the right-hander led the NL in saves in consecutive seasons. He had 47 with Arizona in 2007 and 44 for the Astros in 2008.
Detroit desperately needed a closer after choosing not to re-sign Fernando Rodney or Brandon Lyon.
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.