Tag: Danny Valencia

Danny Valencia to Mariners: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

The Oakland Athletics reportedly traded infielder Danny Valencia to the division-rival Seattle Mariners Saturday in exchange for pitching prospect Paul Blackburn. 

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports first reported Valencia was on the move. Greg Johns of MLB.com provided the other half of the deal, which has yet to get confirmed by either team.

Valencia is coming off back-to-back strong offensive years. He posted a .345 on-base percentage with 18 home runs in a 2015 season split between the A’s and Toronto Blue Jays. He basically matched those numbers in Oakland this past season, finishing with a .346 OBP and 17 homers in 130 games.

The 32-year-old veteran, who will be joining his seventh team since reaching the majors in 2010, was also discussed as a potential movable asset before the trade deadline. He told Bob Nightengale of USA Today in June he preferred to stay but understood the business aspect of the game:

We all joke about it. They are notorious for making trades, so it’s in the back of everybody’s mind. If the team’s not in the thick of things, they will make moves and blow up the team to some degree.

I know I don’t want to go anywhere. I love Oakland. I love the Bay Area. I love my coaching staff, my teammates. We all love it here. But if we don’t want to be moved, we’ve got to play better. They’ve shown that nobody’s untouchable.

Ultimately, Oakland decided to cash in on what could be peak value for Valencia. Before last season, he had hit more than eight homers just once, and he’s entering his final season of arbitration with the possibility of becoming a free agent after the 2017 campaign, per Spotrac.

The A’s get a promising starter in return. Blackburn just arrived to the Seattle organization in July from the Chicago Cubs in a trade that also included Mike Montgomery, who ended up getting the final out in the World Series when the Cubs won their first championship in 108 years.

Meanwhile, Blackburn made 26 appearances (25 starts) at the Double-A level between the two minor league systems. He posted a 3.27 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in those games. While he’s not a big strikeout pitcher, punching out only 99 batters in 143 innings, he has showcased solid stuff and good command.

MLB.com rated him as the No. 18 prospect in the Seattle organization before the deal.

Valencia, who has played all around the diamond throughout his career, figures to fight for the Mariners’ starting right field job during spring training. Otherwise, he’ll play the super-utility role and see the field almost on a daily basis one way or another.


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MLB Trade Deadline: What the Danny Valencia Deal Means for the Toronto Blue Jays

As the MLB trade deadline approaches, the pressure is on for teams to bolster their organizations for the final push to the postseason.

For the Toronto Blue Jays, who hold the American League‘s second wild-card spot and only trail the Baltimore Orioles by 2.5 games, adding another bat to solidify their lineup was of paramount importance.

Would it be a second baseman like Chase Utley, Daniel Murphy or a versatile utility man like Martin Prado or Ben Zobrist?

The answer is none of the above.

According to John Lott of the National Post, the Jays have acquired third baseman Danny Valencia from the Kansas City Royals for catcher Erik Kratz and pitcher Liam Hendriks.

Valencia isn’t an everyday player, but he has made a name for himself hitting left-handed pitching very well. On the flip side, his reduction in OPS from .888 in 2013 to .710 this year, as well as the drop in his OPS+ from 138 (very good) to 95 (below average) are somewhat concerning.

So what does this move mean for the Jays moving forward?


The Jays are Likely to Use a Platoon at Third Base

With Valencia being a southpaw specialist (.354/.386/.492 slash line in 63 at-bats this season) and Juan Francisco lighting up right-handed pitching (.265/.336/.587 slash line in 189 at-bats), it seems like GM Alex Anthopoulos opted to acquire someone on the cheap who could form a dynamic partnership with one of his team’s current players.

It’s hard to see Valencia getting many at-bats against righties or Francisco hitting against lefties from this point forward.

And considering the fact that Valencia hasn’t played more than 10 games anywhere other than third base or as a designated hitter, one would think that this platoon will man the hot corner for the rest of the season.

Which means…


Brett Lawrie Will Take Over at Second Base Upon his Return

It may not be his preferred position, but it’s hard to see Brett Lawrie playing anywhere but second base once he recovers from injury and returns to the Blue Jays.

Between Valencia playing almost exclusively at third base, Francisco’s range making it hard to play him at second and Lawrie being such an incredible athlete, the writing is on the wall.

The question becomes how Lawrie reacts.

He’s known to be an emotional player, and if he’s not content playing full time at second base, it’s very possible that his performance could suffer.


Toronto is Confident its Returning Bats are Good Enough to Carry Them

With all the talk surrounding the Jays needing a boost to their lineup if they want to contend for the postseason, the returns of the aforementioned Lawrie, as well as Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind, seem to have been lost in the shuffle.

Despite his recent setback, Encarnacion has been taking ground balls and doing light running drills in Florida.

If the Jays can add all three bats to their batting order in the next few weeks, they could return to being the force they were early on in the regular season.

If those three aren’t as close to returning as management had hoped, however, this kind of move could also signal that the Jays may not have much payroll flexibility, and bringing in a platoon-type player is all the team could afford.

Those concerns could be offset by another acquisition, but that doesn’t seem very likely.


All statistics obtained courtesy of ESPN.com and Baseball-Reference.com.

Jon Reid is a contributor for Bleacher Report. Follow him on twitter @JonReidCSM.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Minnesota Twins: Danny Valencia and His Miami Swag Return, but for How Long?

The. Swag. Is. Back.

Danny Valencia returned on Saturday night.

The gregarious South Beach sensation has been recalled from Triple-A Rochester to fill in for the injured Trevor Plouffe at the hot corner for the Minnesota Twins.

There is some question of whether or not this will be a brief visit to the Twin Cities until Plouffe gets off the DL or if Danny V is here to stay. The third baseman had a .250 average with only seven home runs in 69 games in Western New York.

“Baseball is progressive,” said manger Ron Gardenhire before Saturday’s game when asked if Valencia will outperform the numbers he put up in the minors, “you’re supposed to get better the more at-bats you [have].”

Supposed to is the key phrase here.

After bursting onto the scene in 2010, he hit .311/.351/.448 in 299 at-bats (1.9 WAR), he leveled out at .246/.294/.383 in 564 at-bats last season (-0.6 WAR) before dropping below the Mendoza Line in his 100 at-bats this season (-1.0 WAR).

In layman’s terms: In 2010 he kicked ass. In 2011 he played like a subpar player that made too many fielding errors (18). And this year he struggled at the plate.

“He got sent down because he wasn’t swinging well,” Gardenhire stated simply.

“There’s going to be lows: there’s going to be times where you struggle and you have to make some adjustments,” continued the manager, addressing the question about Valencia outperforming his numbers in Rochester, which was originally posed by StarTribune writer Joe Christensen.

“Your writing, I’ve seen you write good stories and I’ve seen you write horses**t ones, so you’ve got to make adjustments in your writings so you get better.

“Same thing in baseball.”

One of Christensen’s particularly strong pieces was, in fact, a profile on Mr. Valencia before he was sent down to Triple-A this season.

In the profile, Christensen writes that although Valencia comes off as brash, he’s actually a good person that avoids drinking excessively and has a humbling story.

Valencia was not heavily scouted out of Spanish River High School in his hometown of Boca Raton, which is an hour north of Miami, and ended up going to the University of Carolina-Greensboro.

As a freshman he was named Southern Conference Player of the Year and garnered attention from bigger programs.

“I felt that wasn’t the place to get the most exposure,” he said in an interview I had with him last year, “so I spoke to some contacts down in South Florida, spoke to the head coach I played for in the summer ball league I played in after my senior year of high school and he said ‘Look, UM definitely wants you.’”

Valencia had trouble transferring from UNC-Greensboro. According to Omar Kelly of the Florida Sun-Sentinel, the school initially offered to release him from his scholarship but later refused to do so. He appealed to a university committee, which eventually granted him his release.

After gaining admittance to The U, Valencia still had to battle for scholarship money. The school only covered his books his first year.

Undrafted out of high school, he played first base while some guy named Ryan Braun manned the hot corner, but during his junior season Braun left for the minors and Valencia became the team’s third baseman. He hit .324/.382/.475 with nine homers and 61 RBI that year and was drafted in the 19th round by the Twins.

And if you hear him tell it, things didn’t get much better.

“When you’re a late-round draft pick and you don’t perform it’s easy for them to say ‘He can’t play here’ and they get rid of you,” he said in the interview last year. “It’s a shame to say it because I’ve seen a lot of good players get drafted late and you don’t get the opportunity some players get that are drafted higher.

“As a late-round pick you have to go battle, work hard and you’ve got to perform.

“Your performance trumps all.”

The grind doesn’t go away in the majors.

Valencia hits .311 and he’s named to the Rookie All-Star Team.

He hits .246 and makes 18 errors in the field and he’s a liability.

He hits below the Mendoza Line and he’s back in the Rochester.

“It’s tough down there,” said Gardenhire of the minors. “It’s tough to motivate yourself. When you’ve been up here playing in front of 40,000 fans and you go back to the minor leagues and you’re playing in front of five to seven thousand fans you have to dig deep to motivate yourself.”

Valencia has and an injury to Plouffe has given him an opportunity to play with the big boys. The question is whether he’ll be up for a week or he’ll stick around for good.

His presence certainly hasn’t been lost here at Target Field.

Around the park, No. 19 and 22 jerseys can be seen on the backs of loyal fans. The number switch was made this season, which left a few fans disgruntled. Valencia wore 22 in high school and college.

Valencia had to make a decision early in the game today. In the first inning he grounded a ball with men on second and third, took a look at home and threw across to first, allowing the runner to score.

Starter Sam Deduno and the Twins got out of the inning with the score 1-0, things could have been worse, but it’s possible that Minnesota could have gotten out of the inning with the score tied.

In Valencia’s first at-bat he struck out, swinging at the first three pitches…and the third was far outside the strike zone.

In his second at-bat he advanced on a throwing error by Minnesota-native Jack Hannahan.

A throwing error by a third baseman: how ironic.

At that point he’s still 0-for-27.

Casilla’s bases-clearing triple brought him and Dozier home.

In his third at-bat Valencia grounded into a fielder’s choice, but reached first safely. His walk up song for that at-bat, according to Shazam on my iPhone, was “F*ck Em’” by Rick Ross Feat. 2 Chainz & Wale.

In his fourth at-bat, Valencia singled to left-center, snapping his 0-for-28 skid.

Then, with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth…


Jose Lopez hits it right at him and…his throwing error extends the inning and allows a runner to score. The pitcher at the time, Luis Perdomo, walked the next guy, Jason Kipnis, in to make it 12-5. Casey Fien would come in and close out the game.

Safe to say, there were highs and lows.

It’s one game. It’s too early to judge him.

The Valencia jerseys, both the 19s and the 22s, remain in the stands, but the question still lingers:

Is the swag there and, if so, how long will it last?


All quotes were obtained first-hand.

Tom Schreier writes a weekly column for TheFanManifesto.com.

Follow him on Twitter @tschreier3.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Minnesota Twins: Anatomy of a Collapse, Should We Have Seen This Coming?

There’s no doubt that 2010-2011 has been extremely disappointing for Minnesota sports fans. 

The Timberwolves again failed to hit 20 wins, the Wild missed the playoffs yet again, and the Vikings look to be in a free fall after being within one 14-men in the huddle penalty from the Super Bowl only 18 months ago.

It would seem that things couldn’t get any worse.

But hope springs eternal and the time is right for baseball, the one constant within the Minnesota sports landscape. 

With the new stadium smell still hovering over Target Field the expectations have been the greatest for the local nine. What was supposed to be a season full of hope appears to be falling in line with all of the other professional teams as the Twins are in the midst of the single greatest turnaround in franchise history—the problem is this turnaround is in the negative direction.

Taking a look as what has transpired for the Twins since they were last swept by the New York Yankees in the divisional round of the playoffs it might be all that surprising that the team is struggling.  

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Minnesota Twins: Are the Twins This Terrible or Is This Just a Sophomore Slump?

The Minnesota Twins have the worst record in baseball. No surprise, at 10.5 games back of the division-leading Cleveland Indians, this also gives the greatest deficit of any team.

Can the Twins really be this bad? Sure, they have had several players out of the lineup.

Former MVP and All-Star catcher Joe Mauer, left fielder Delmon Young and slugger Jim Thome are all on the disabled list and have not been able to contribute like they did last year.

Yet the Twins’ starting rotation is pretty much in intact from last season, and while they lost Jon Rauch, Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier, the end of the bullpen still has closer Matt Capps and the return of Joe Nathan.

Perhaps this is just one big sophomore jinx as the Minnesota Twins, in only their third homestand of the season, are playing in their second season at Target Field.

I looked over the Twins roster and found several “sophomores” who are playing their second season with Minnesota. 

In all cases, it would appear this is a double-sophomore jinx.

Here are seven “sophomores” that are not performing to their 2010 levels.

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