Danny Valencia Rumors
Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com feels that while there is a growing sentiment among some Orioles fans that Matt Wieters should be traded due to his declining offensive numbers, the backstop is part of the team's core and should instead be offered an extension. Melewski points out that Adam Jones was extended with two years of team control remaining -- the same amount of team control the Orioles currently hold over Wieters. He adds that Wieters is a durable clubhouse leader that is entering his prime years, all of which should factor into the team's desire to retain him. The x-factor that isn't discussed by Melewski is Wieters' agent, Scott Boras. Few Boras clients sign extensions prior to free agency, though notable recent exceptions include Elvis Andrus, Carlos Gomez and Carlos Gonzalez. More on the O's...
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that Manny Machado's surgery to repair the medial patellofemoral ligament in his left knee will take place today. The projected four-to-six-week timeframe for his recovery will have him ready sometime between the beginning of Spring Training and the early portion of April.
- From within that same piece, Connolly writes that Jason Hammel is behind Scott Feldman, Nate McLouth and Brian Roberts on the Orioles' "priority to re-sign" list. Connolly's assumption is that Hammel will hook on with another team. I could envision him signing a similar contract to that of Feldman last offseason -- one year at $5-6MM with additional incentives based on innings pitched and/or games started.
- Lastly from Connolly, the out-of-options Danny Valencia figures to make the team in 2014 and could see more time in the field early on, depending on Machado's recovery. Connolly adds that despite Valencia's large numbers against left-handed pitching, a consistent DH who can get on base regularly will be an offseason priority for the Orioles.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk examined the market for Kyle Lohse and wrote it would be very surprising to see the Royals make a move for him. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star agrees, even if a rash of injuries were to hit their starters, because the Royals are $10MM over their projected break-even point in payroll. Dutton adds James Shields, Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie, and Wade Davis can't pitch poorly enough this spring to lose their spots in the rotation. Elsewhere around the American League:
- The Yankees will not let the way Alex Rodriguez's ten-year, $275MM contract has panned out affect their negotiations with Robinson Cano, GM Brian Cashman told ESPN Radio's Ian O'Connor (transcript courtesy of ESPNNewYork.com). "There's only so much you can spend, but we'll look at Robbie as an individual, not as it relates to whatever we're doing with Alex Rodriguez and our commitment and the regression we have experienced with Alex," said Cashman.
- The Yankees announced Curtis Granderson will miss the next ten weeks with a fractured right forearm after being hit with a pitch during today's Spring Training game. Non-roster invitees Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera plus minor leaguers Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte are the in-house candidates to replace the Yankees' leading home run hitter from a year ago, tweets the YES Network's Jack Curry.
- If the Yankees do go outside the organization to replace Granderson, they can find a better option toward the end of camp, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
- A deal for Alfonso Soriano could make sense for the Yankees and the Cubs have made it clear to the industry they would be willing to pay much of the $36MM owed Soriano for the next two years, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links).
- Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com asked if the Yankees turn to Vernon Wells to replace Granderson. If so, the Angels would still have to eat a majority of the $42MM due Wells over the next two years (Twitter links).
- Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters, including CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff, he's satisfied with the DH candidates already in camp and will not scour the free agent market. "We’re answering the questions here,” Showalter said. “We’re going to find it right here. We spent a lot of time getting this group in. We’re going to look in our backyard." Wilson Betemit is the main candidate to DH against right-handers while Russ Canzler and Danny Valencia are the favorites against left-handers. Dubroff also sees Nolan Reimold in the mix as well as regulars whom Showalter wants to give a breather.
Acquired from Minnesota this past August, Valencia appeared in 44 total games in 2012. He struggled, posting a .188/.199/.299 batting line in 161 plate appearances for the Red Sox and Twins. However, in 2011, he hit 15 home runs and posted a .246/.294/.383 as Minnesota's starting third baseman.
Mahoney debuted with the Orioles this past season, appearing in two games. In 536 plate appearances at Triple-A, the 25-year-old posted a .265/.319/.389 batting line.
The Red Sox have designated third baseman Danny Valencia, infielder Ivan De Jesus and right-handed pitchers Sandy Rosario, David Carpenter and Zach Stewart for assginment, according to a team press release.
All five players were acquired by the Red Sox within the last year and De Jesus, Carpenter and Stewart were small pieces of some of Boston's biggest trades of the season. De Jesus was picked up as part of the blockbuster deal with the Dodgers in August, Carpenter came from the Blue Jays as part of the John Farrell trade package, and Stewart as part of the deal that sent Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox in June. Valencia, meanwhile, was picked up in a trade with the Twins in August while Rosario was picked up off waivers from the Marlins last month.
The Red Sox have acquired third baseman Danny Valencia from the Twins for minor league outfielder Jeremias Pineda, both teams have announced. Valencia will report to Triple-A Pawtucket while Pineda will report to the Gulf Coast League Twins.
Valencia has struggled this season hitting .198/.212/.310 in two tours with the Twins. He has also played 69 games for Triple-A Rochester batting .250/.289/.399. Valencia, originally selected by the Twins in the 19th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, had an impressive Major League rookie season in 2010 with a slash line of .311/.351/.448, but has seen his numbers drop steadily since.
Pineda is a 21-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic who has never played above Rookie ball. Pineda, a switch-hitter, is leading the Gulf Coast League in batting (.421). Over his two professional seasons in the Red Sox organization, Pineda has a slash line of .321/.380/.423 in 70 games between the Dominican Summer League Red Sox and the GCL.
Not long after landing Nick Swisher, agent Dan Lozano has added Manny Machado, Yonder Alonso, and Danny Valencia to his list of clients according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick and Keith Law (all Twitter links). Machado and Alonso were named the 14th and 73rd best prospects in the game, respectively, by Baseball America just yesterday. Law notes that all three players than Miami roots.
Machado, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2010 draft. In his brief professional debut last summer (39 plate appearances), he hit .306/.359/.472 with a homer and as many walks (three) as strikeouts. In the 2011 edition of their Prospect Handbook, Baseball America said Machado "has the look of a perennial all-star" with a chance to "become a .300 hitter with 20 homers a season as he matures." Machado was previously being represented by Scott Boras.
Alonso, 24 in April, was the Reds' first round pick in 2008, seventh overall. He made his Major League debut last September, hitting just .207/.207/.276 with ten strikeouts and no walks in 29 plate appearances. Alonso is a .298/.368/.458 career hitters in the minors, and he told Crasnick that he left Legacy Sports "about a month ago." His salaries are controlled through 2012 thanks to the five-year, $4.55MM big league contract he signed out of the draft.
As a first baseman in the Reds' system, Alonso is stuck behind NL MVP Joey Votto, which is why the club has had him try third base and left field in the past. So far neither position has stuck, and Alonso could wind up trade bait.
Valencia, 26, emerged as the Twins third baseman last season, hitting .311/.351/.448 with seven homers in 322 plate appearances. He finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.
The Twins are a good team, but it's in spite of the production they're getting at the hot corner. Ron Gardenhire's third baseman have combined to hit just .213/.283/.280 with a pair of home runs. Nick Punto and Brendan Harris each have slugging percentages below .300, so the Twins recently called on top prospect Danny Valencia. That move gives the Twins more power than the Punto-Harris combination, but it doesn't assure them of anything. Let's take a look at the Twins' options as they try to get some offense from their third basemen:
- Hope that Valencia hits - Baseball America named Valencia an untouchable before last year's trade deadline, and ranked him sixth among Twins prospects heading into the year. At that point, Valencia had a promising bat, but was an inconsistent defender because of "subpar concentration and footwork." Valencia, 25, has hit .323/.364/.323 since arriving in the majors in early June, so his bat is no sure thing either.
- Call up the Red Sox - Ken Rosenthal reported over the weekend that the Twins' field staff would like to add Mike Lowell, though the front office has concerns about his durability. The $7.1MM remaining on Lowell's 2010 salary would also be an obstacle.
- Trade for an Oriole - The Twins could call the Orioles about Miguel Tejada (.676 OPS, $6MM salary) or Ty Wigginton (.854 OPS, $3.5MM salary). Tejada is playing third for the O's and Wigginton has spent most of his career at the hot corner and has recent experience there.
- Ask about LaRoche - There's no room for Andy LaRoche in Pittsburgh, now that the Pedro Alvarez era has begun. LaRoche has just a .232/.295/.316 line, but the 26-year-old posted a .731 OPS and played solid defense last year.
- Turn to the free agent market - Joe Crede defended well and hit 15 homers for the Twins in 2009. However, he had back, shoulder, hand, knee and hamstring issues last year and hasn't faced MLB pitching since.
- Hope that the Blue Jays keep slumping - There's no guarantee that the Blue Jays keep slumping or that they'll have interest in moving Jose Bautista if they do fall out of contention. Those 18 homers and the fact that Bautista doesn't become a free agent until after 2011 mean the Jays could ask for a highly-touted prospect or two. It wouldn't be the first time the Twins picked up a former Blue Jay with power to play third; the club added Tony Batista back in 2006.
With Michael Cuddyer on the bereavement list, the Twins called up top prospect Danny Valencia from Triple-A Rochester. MLB.com's Kelly Thesier tweets that Valencia will make his major league debut tonight at third base when the Twins play the Mariners.
A 19th-round pick in the 2006 draft, Valencia has a .298/.353/.469 line in 2005 minor league at-bats, though just a .742 OPS in 483 PA at the Triple-A level. Baseball America's John Manuel described Valencia as one of the "untouchable" prospects at last year's trade deadline, and the Twins hope the 25-year-old can develop into an everyday third baseman.
Valencia is the third notable Twins prospect to get a cup of coffee with the big club this season, as Trevor Plouffe (their first-round pick in the 2004 amateur draft) and catcher Wilson Ramos ("one of the better trade chips in baseball") made their debuts earlier this season to fill holes in the banged-up Minnesota lineup. While Ramos was never going to displace Joe Mauer behind the plate and Plouffe hasn't hit well enough in the minors to be considered a blue chipper, every opportunity exists for Valencia to stick around in the majors. As Manuel noted in his story, "third base has been a black hole" for the Twins since the days of Corey Koskie. Nick Punto (.574 OPS this season) and Brendan Harris (.478 OPS) could both be easily displaced if Valencia gets off to a hot start.
Reporting from the TwinsFest fan session, Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (via Twitter) has "got hints" that the Twins won't bring back free agent Joe Crede in 2010. In a follow-up tweet, Christensen said the reason was that it is "too hard to keep Crede on the field, which hamstrings your roster" and that the Twins would prefer to see Brendan Harris play third for now with an eye on prospect Danny Valencia eventually taking over the position.
Crede signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal with Minnesota last February that could have been worth as much as $7MM had he reached all of the contract's many incentive levels. Unfortunately for Crede, he was limited to just 367 plate appearances last season thanks to the latest in a series of back problems that have plagued the veteran third baseman. His September surgery to remove fluid from a herniated disk was the third procedure on his back in as many years. Crede hit .225/.289/.414 last season.
Some Saturday afternoon tidbits....
- Nationals' manager Jim Riggleman spoke about what he thinks Elijah Dukes can do next season, writes Byron Kerr of MASNSports.com.
- Satchel Price at Beyond The Box Score thinks the Astros have overpaid for the players they've picked up this offseason.
- Kelly Thesier of MLB.com points out that for all of the talk about the Twins' need for a third baseman, the club is only looking for a "short-term stopgap" given the presence of top prospect Danny Valencia. Thesier's mailbag piece also shoots downs a couple of Twins-related trade rumors and discusses the club's attempt to re-sign Joe Mauer.
- In another MLB.com mailbag, Chris Haft says there hasn't been any talk of the Giants signing Carlos Delgado (though he would fit their need for a left-handed bat) and proposes that Ryan Church would be a better outfield option for San Francisco than Rick Ankiel.
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel spoke to Chris Capuano about the pitcher's attempt to return from (his second) Tommy John surgery.
- The Reds' budget may limit them to just pinch-hitting options in their search for a hitter, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
- John Sickels of MinorLeagueBall.com grades the top 20 prospects in the Mets and Indians systems. The only player on either list to rate an A-grade was Cleveland catcher Carlos Santana.
- Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com looks at the youngsters who will be fighting to be the Dodgers' No. 5 starter next season. Jackson points out that these pitchers might be going for the No. 4 spot too if L.A. doesn't sign a veteran starter before Opening Day.