The Athletics have claimed infielder Danny Valencia off waivers from the Blue Jays, the A’s announced (on Twitter). Valencia was claimed from outright waivers as opposed to revocable trade waivers, so no trade will need to be worked out.
Valencia, 30, was a surprise casualty of the Blue Jays’ flurry of trade deadline activity, as the team designated him for assignment late last week in spite of excellent numbers at the plate. The right-handed-hitting Valencia is hitting .296/.331/.506 with seven homers in 173 trips to the plate this season.
Throughout Valencia’s career, most of his production has come versus left-handed pitching (a very robust .326/.368/.497 batting line), but he’s actually recorded better numbers versus right-handed pitching in 2015. Valencia has seen most of his action at third base throughout his career — he was the Twins’ regular third baseman for two and a half seasons and finished third in the 2010 AL Rookie of the Year voting — but he’s played some left field, first base and second base over the past couple of seasons as well. As a player that has notable platoon splits and the ability to bounce around the diamond a bit, he fits the quintessential Athletics mold.
Valencia will have four-plus years of service time at season’s end, meaning he can be controlled through the 2017 season. Valencia and his representatives at MVP Sports won an arbitration hearing against the Blue Jays this winter, resulting in a $1.675MM salary. He’s owed about $577K of that sum through the end of the year. The Athletics had top waiver priority in the American League, so the first team that had the option of picking up Valencia is the team on which he ultimately landed.