The Rockies have signed righty Phillips Valdez to a minor league contract, according to Chris Hilburn-Trenkle of Baseball America. He’d reached minor league free agency at the end of the season after being outrighted off the Mariners 40-man roster in October.
Valdez didn’t suit up at the MLB level with Seattle. He spent his time in the organization with Triple-A Tacoma, where he worked to a 4.22 ERA over 21 1/3 innings of relief. Valdez struck out just 16.3% of batters faced at that level, though he induced grounders on almost half the batted balls he allowed. Before landing with the Mariners, he pitched in 13 MLB games for the Red Sox. Over 16 1/3 frames, he put up a 4,41 ERA with an 18.1% strikeout rate and a massive 58.7% grounder percentage.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Valdez has pitched in the majors in each of the last four years. He’s made 76 appearances with the Rangers and Red Sox, pitching 102 2/3 frames of 4.56 ERA ball. The 31-year-old doesn’t have especially strong strikeout or walk numbers, but he’s consistently been successful at keeping the ball on the ground. For his career, Valdez has induced worm-burners on 53.9% of batted balls.
That’s surely of appeal to the Rockies, who are always looking for ways to keep the ball in the yard and avoid the massive Coors Field outfield. Valdez will try to carve out a middle innings role. If he secures a 40-man roster spot, the Rox would have to keep him in the majors or make him available to other teams as he’s out of minor league option years.