The Mariners signed infielder Pat Valaika to a minor league deal last week. He’s been assigned to Triple-A Tacoma, where he made his season debut over the weekend.
A right-handed hitter, Valaika has appeared in parts of six big league campaigns. He got to the highest level each season between 2016-21, suiting up for the Rockies and Orioles. Valaika set a career mark with 281 plate appearances for Baltimore in 2021 but struggled to a .201/.250/.290 slash that season. For his career, he carries a .221/.264/.378 line with 30 home runs and a lofty 27.2% strikeout rate over 864 plate appearances.
Last season, the UCLA product spent the year in the Braves’ system. He got into 114 games for their top affiliate in Gwinnett, putting up a .242/.303/.368 mark with a reasonable 20.6% strikeout percentage in 466 trips to the dish. He never got an MLB call from Atlanta and returned to minor league free agency over the offseason.
Valika has extensive experience throughout the infield. He’s capable of playing anywhere on the dirt, though public metrics have been lukewarm on his shortstop performance. He’ll bring a fair bit of experience and defensive flexibility to the upper minors in Seattle and adds another righty-swinging utility bat to the mix.
Dylan Moore is on the injured list, pushing the switch-hitting Sam Haggerty into a complementary role to the lefty-swinging Kolten Wong at second base. The M’s acquired Nick Solak in a trade with the Reds last week and have him on optional assignment to Tacoma. Valaika and Mason McCoy are among the non-roster depth players in the organization.
DiPoto stocking up on Middle Infielders in the “after training camp” sale, going on in a free agent market near you…
All of the new Mariners are in bad slumps. I wonder if this newest one will be able to hit anything at all…
That is the question, all right.
All my offseason exhuberance is shot now, my raving that this would be “The Year of the Mariners!”
Just seems unrealistic at this point.
The pitchers struggle to get outs, throw too many pitches early, the hitters are duds so far.
That’s reality for you.
Can this guy Valaika be of any help? Not no time soon.
Selah Rick 2
Hang in there Fred! We all thought the same last year when they were 10 games under .500.
I’m thinking (and hoping) it’s just a bad slump to start the season. Tonight, they right the ship!
Selah Rick 2
If I remember right they started 2 and 4 last year. 1 and 4 this year and by the sound of many fans it’s time to fire and trade everybody.
That sounds about right. Heck, we were also something like 29-39 at one point. I won’t be worried until this turns into a 10 game losing streak.
Aw shucks Fred, do I detect a not of disparity? After last nights game you can put that away.
Say Pat who? How are we going to save the M’s season already?
Watching the Mariners last 3 games on TV. They are bad on D. They threw away yesterdays game against the G’s Tonight my Halo’s Won. I’m not going to get all giddy. It’s a long season. And the Angels are better constructed this year. The Angels caught the M’s at a bad time. We should take at least 2 of 3 with Ohtani pitching on Wednesday. We shall see.
The Angels are definitely not better constructed than the Mariners. You’re deluding yourself.
Mariners will finish in last place this year. DiPoto keeps making ridiculous moves. that won’t pan out. Seen this happen before he had to quit the Angels.
You have to pull your head out of the PNW and look around baseball. The M’s should be fine and grab a wild card. But to discredit any team with the best 2 players on it, you’d be a fool.
BTW, I like J- Rod a lot. He’d look great as the Angel’s 3rd best player. 😉
Is that supposed to be an insult? J-Rod is 22. In a few years he’ll be better than both
“To discredit any team with the 2 best players on it, you’d be a fool.”
Having the 2 best players has proven pretty worthless for the past 5 seasons. At this point, the Angels should be discredited until they prove they’re deserving of credit.
C Yards Jeff
Pat V in the house. He’s a gamer. He knew his role in Baltimore and gave it his all. What was his role? A placeholder during Os rebuild. Plus the emergence of Mateo and Urias as better options didn’t help his case either.
1 win and 4 losses, ouch.
This is about the point when teams used to start firing the hitting coaches.
Do they still do that?
Or has that changed the way everything else in baseball has?
Coaching is very often the culprit when your “good hitters” can’t hit.
It seems like everyone blames the manager these days.
All the other AL West teams improved; the Mariners didn’t. No playoffs this year. (I’m always negative with their bad starts, but they often surprise me,like last year!).
There were all kinds of free agent 2nd baseman, shortstops, and left fielders this past off-season, but Dipoto waits until there are none left and then starts bringing in the dregs!
C Yards Jeff
Plus Dipoto moved on from Frazier after only one year with team. Rush to judgement?
Adam Frazier has had one half of baseball where he was more than decent, otherwise just a mediocre placeholder. He never should’ve been back.
Selah Rick 2
With the shift rules they wanted more athletic players. Frazier is not that.
5 games in is no time to panic. Look around the league and you see all-stars hitting .105 or worse, Give it a few weeks and see what shakes out.
Still would have been nice if they had landed a guy like Bogarts. Like they stated they were going after one of those big name shortstops.
Selah Rick 2
We don’t know how it went down. Bogarts could have told the M’s for me to come there you will have to be $25 mil better.
Highly unlikely. They have one of the top starting staffs, decent pen, and a star in the making. All players across all sports now days want to create a “super team”
They saw what guys were getting paid and opted themselves out. Then used the narrative that they didn’t want to move JP from short and the free agents didn’t want to play second. They said during a spring broadcast JP would have been happy to move to 2b if he’d been asked but he wasn’t.
Selah Rick 2
They may want to be on a super team but not in Seattle. To much travel.