Yesterday, the Baltimore Orioles announced the acquisition of 3B Danny Valencia from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for cash considerations. INF Joe Mahoney was the unfortunate designation for assignment in order to make room on the 40-man roster for Valencia.
So who is this guy? Good question, Valencia is 28 years old and has been in the big leagues, bouncing back and forth, for the past three seasons, primarily as a third baseman. He made his major league debut in 2010 with the Minnesota Twins playing in 85 games hitting .311 in 299 at bats and finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting (Neftali Feliz). In 2011 Valencia made the opening day roster for the Twins, and led the AL in games played at third base with 154 and assists by a third baseman with 260.
In 2012 Valencia had an up and down year, both offensively and team wise. He split time between AAA and the big leagues with the Twins before being traded to the Red Sox in August. After he arrived in Boston, he split time between their AAA squad and the big leagues. All told, he played a combined 44 games in the big leagues in 2012 and a combined 82 games in AAA. He struggled in his short time in the bigs, but that could be attributed to not playing everyday as in his 82 games in AAA, he hit .259 with 8 homers and 45 RBI.
What reason did Orioles executive VP/GM Dan Duquette have for acquiring Valencia? I believe it is two fold, first he has an outstanding track record against left handed pitching as he is a career .316 hitter vs lefties in 326 plate appearances. Second, I am now a firm believer that Duquette and the Orioles are not going to bring back Mark Reynolds. Why you ask? Simple, with this move Duquette is essentially re-creating an improved Reynolds for the DH spot as Chris Davis will play first base, and now Valencia will be the DH against left handed pitching and Wilson Betemit will be the DH against right handed pitching. Betemit has a career .281 batting average against right handers in 1,757 plate appearances. I will admit, when I first heard the news of the Valencia acquisition, I thought oh here we go again, the Orioles front office is trying to catch lightning in a bottle again, but if you really pay attention to the numbers, this could be a great move. They may have created a hybrid DH that will hit close to .300, have an OBP of .350-.375 and hit 20-25 homers and still leaves the option to let Betemit play some games at first base and allow Davis to DH or have a rest day because Wilson is a switch hitter. This is a move I could really support.
What do you think about the move? Do you think this marks the end of Mark Reynolds' time with the Orioles? Post a comment and let your voice be heard.
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