SATURDAY, 8:18am: The signing is now official.
FRIDAY, 10:44am: USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that Valencia’s deal comes with a $1.2MM base salary and an additional $3MM worth of possible incentives.
10:20am: The Orioles have agreed to a minor league contract with corner infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia, reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com (Twitter link). Valencia is represented by the MVP Sports Group. He’ll take his physical tomorrow, per Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (Twitter link).
The 33-year-old Valencia spent the 2017 season with the Mariners, for whom he logged a .256/.314/.411 slash with 15 home runs in an even 500 plate appearances. Valencia spent the vast majority of his time in the field at first base but also logged 51 innings in right field and another seven at his original position, third base.
Baltimore’s bench is anything but set at present, so Valencia could impress in camp and seize a spot as a right-handed-hitting complement to first baseman Chris Davis. His experience at all four corner spots would bring some versatility to O’s, who currently don’t have an established utility option on the roster. While Valencia isn’t a shortstop — a position at which most utility infielders are adept — the O’s have both Manny Machado and Tim Beckham as options there, which could lessen the need for that skill in a utilityman. Baltimore also has waiver pickup Engelb Vielma on the 40-man roster, and he’ll be among the names with whom Valencia is competing for a job.
This marks the second go-around for Valencia with the O’s. He also spent the 2013 season in Baltimore, hitting .304/.335/.553 with 14 homers in 170 trips to the plate. A veteran of eight Major League seasons, Valencia is a lifetime .269/.317/.427 hitter in the big leagues. He’s particularly strong against left-handed opponents, against whom he’s slashed .313/.370/.493 in 994 career PAs.