Re: Valencia Deal An Odd One
posted at 8/5/2012 3:29 PM EDT
BOSTON -- The Red Sox acquired third baseman Danny Valencia from the Twins on Sunday in exchange for outfielder Jeremias Pineda.
Valencia, who was on Minnesota's 25-man roster, will report to Triple-A Pawtucket.
The Red Sox put in a waiver claim on Valencia, and the deal was worked out Sunday afternoon, according to Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony.
On the surface, the move appears to be a buy-low for Boston in hopes that a change of scenery will spark a resurgence in Valencia, who finished third in Rookie of the Year balloting in 2010. That season, he batted .311 with a .351 on-bas epercentage and .448 slugging in 85 games as Minnesota made the playoffs.
Valencia slumped as the Twins' everyday third baseman last year, posting a .246 average and .294 on-base -- albeit with 15 home runs -- and he's bottomed out this season. In 34 games with Minnesota, he's hit .198 with a .212 on-base. He lost the everyday job at third to Trevor Plouffe, whose emergence made Valencia expendable.
"The guy can play. He's been productive for us," Antony said of Valencia. "But he got off to a slow start and we sent him down to Rochester. He's worked very hard, to his credit. [Rochester manager] Gene Glynn had nothing but good things to say about him as far as that goes. But it's a situation where it's a fresh start for Danny."
In 69 games at Rochester this season, Valencia was hitting .250 with a .289 on-base and seven home runs.
"He just wasn't taking good at-bats. I know he was frustrated, sometimes getting behind in the count. Sometimes those things snowball on you," Antony said. "It wasn't a matter of we were down on him or anything else. It just maybe was a situation where this might be a better opportunity."
In the short term, Valencia gives the PawSox more flexibility on the infield. Pawtucket has been playing Mauro Gomez and journeyman Andy LaRoche at third. A longer view doesn't project much of a big-league spot for Valencia in Boston, given the presence of Will Middlebrooks -- as well as veterans under contract for next season Mike Aviles and Nick Punto.
Even so, it's a low-risk move for the Red Sox. Pineda is a 21-year-old in the Gulf Coast League who the Twins think might contend for a roster spot in Class A next year.
Valencia, 27, isn't even arbitration-eligible until after the 2013 season. He has one option remaining after this season, and thus can remain as minor-league depth next year.