The Dodgers have acquired infielder Pat Valaika from the Mariners, per Alex Freedman, broadcaster for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers. It’s unknown what the Mariners are getting in return but it’s possible it’s just a cash deal.
Valaika, 30, signed a minor league deal with the Mariners in April and has been in Triple-A this year. In 38 games at that level, he’s walked in 13.3% of his 143 plate appearances. However, he’s hit only four home runs in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, so his .240/.343/.405 slash line amounts to a wRC+ of just 77.
He hasn’t appeared in the big leagues since 2021 but has 374 games of major league experience with the Rockies and Orioles dating back to 2016. He hit .221/.264/.378 in those contests for a wRC+ of just 62, striking out in 27.2% of his trips to the plate and walking in 5.4% of them. He was able to provide defensive versatility though, having played all four infield positions, the outfield corners and even taking the mound for mop-up duty twice.
The Dodgers have been without infielder Gavin Lux all year after he tore the ACL in his right knee during Spring Training. More recently, utility player Chris Taylor landed on the injured list due to a bone bruise in his knee. That has pushed outfielder Mookie Betts into spending more time in the middle infield of late. Glove-first shortstop Miguel Rojas is still in the lineup pretty regularly but he’s hitting just .236/.276/.291 for a wRC+ of 56, below his own standards. Meanwhile, Miguel Vargas is hitting just .197/.301/.369 for an 85 wRC+ and Yonny Hernández is at .222/.273/.333, 62 wRC+.
It’s not the most inspiring part of the Dodgers’ roster and they have decided to add some depth by bringing aboard a veteran in Valaika. He’ll head to Oklahoma City and try to work his way back to the big leagues. If he succeeds, he still has an option year and could be sent back down without being exposed to waivers.