The Diamondbacks announced that they’ve designated infielder Pat Valaika for assignment. His spot on the 40-man roster will go to new center fielder Starling Marte, whose acquisition from the Pirates has been formally announced by the team.
It’s the third time this winter that Valaika, 27, has been jettisoned from a 40-man roster. The former ninth-round pick began the offseason with the Rockies and was briefly property of the Orioles before being claimed off waivers by the D-backs just 11 days ago.
The younger brother of former Reds, Marlins and Cubs infielder Chris Valaika, Pat has spent his entire career in the Rockies organization, appearing in the big leagues in each of the past four seasons. He’s a career .214/.256/.400 hitter who has shown plenty of pop from the right side of the dish and some infield versatility.
However, the younger Valaika brother has punched out in nearly 29 percent of his trips to the plate in the big leagues and generally struggled to get on base at a passable clip. He has a minor league option remaining and a career .275/.315/.498 slash 695 Triple-A plate appearances, so it’s possible another club will take a look at claiming him as a depth option. If not, he’ll remain in the D-backs system and presumably head to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee to Major League camp.
Arizona will have a week to trade Valaika, place him on outright waivers or release him.