Tag Archive | "danny valencia"

Let’s hope David Lough knows how to play “Crocodile Rock”

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Let’s hope David Lough knows how to play “Crocodile Rock”

Posted on 19 December 2013 by Drew Forrester

Give Dan Duquette credit.

Prior to last week’s Winter Meetings in Florida, Duquette pledged he was on the look-out for several things, one of those being a left-handed bat.

He made good on that promise yesterday.

It wasn’t quite the Shin-Soo Choo holiday gift we were all hoping for; instead it was a guy who has 400 career at bats in the major leagues.

The acquisition of David Lough on Wednesday wasn’t a “horrible move”.  For starters, the departure of Danny Valencia isn’t going to cost the Orioles a half dozen wins or anything, but they will need to replace his bat against left handed pitching.  Valencia was virtually one dimensional.  He was bat only, although his glove could fill-in for a day or two if one of the infielders had to take a day or two off.

Lough is what the experts call a “plus defender”, which is usually a way of saying a guy is really, really good defensively — and that makes up for the fact he’s not all that good at the plate.

Here’s what David Lough is — and here’s why the move is a typical Orioles maneuver.

He’s basically a cheaper version of Nate McLouth.

McLouth might be a tad more effective with the lumber in his hands.  Lough has a better arm in the outfield and is a little more versatile positionally.  They both have decent speed.  McLouth probably hits a couple of more home runs per-season than Lough, and his plate discipline is better.

McLouth, though, makes $5 million per-year.

Lough makes $500,000.

Checkmate.

It’s basically a lateral move that saves the Orioles $4.5 million.

Now, please understand this:  If I thought the Orioles were taking that $4.5 million and doing “something” with it, I’d probably be much more excited about the move.

If they were working on a deal for, let’s say, David Price from Tampa Bay, and they were going to use that $4.5 million in part to pay him the $16-18 million he’s going to command in 2014, I’d be doing cartwheels.

David Price is a game changer.

They’re not getting David Price, of course.  The Orioles wouldn’t pay a pitcher $18 million if Walter Johnson came back from the dead and said, “I have three great years left, give me $54 million and let’s go beat the Yankees and Red Sox.”

If I thought the Orioles were taking that $4.5 million and putting it in a hedge fund somewhere along with all that MASN money they’ve been hoarding in an attempt to make a boatload of cash to hand over to Chris Davis sometime over the next 12 months, I’d say, “OK, you gotta give a little to get a lot…I understand that way of thinking.”

But, that’s not what they’re doing.  If Chris Davis puts up something in the neighborhood of 50 HR, 120 RBI again, he’ll be on the verge of becoming one of those $150 million/7 year baseball players and that immediately takes him OUT of Baltimore and in either Boston, New York, Detroit or Seattle.

If they were spending some of that $4.5 million they were saving on the likes of a “real” left-handed hitter like Shin-Soo Choo and making Lough their 4th outfielder – a la Chris Dickerson, say – I’d be very comfortable with that kind of move.

Instead, here’s what happens to that $4.5 million they saved on McLouth:  They’ll take that money they saved by flipping McLouth for Lough – in essence – and simply say, “That’s how you build a good team in a limited market.”

I hope David Lough works out.

As it stands now, it would appear the Orioles have four left-fielder types, none of which are even close to being “a sure thing”.  Nolan Reimold=suspect. Francisco Peguero=suspect.  Steve Pearce=suspect.  Lough=suspect.

They need Lough to come through, since I think we all know the chances of any of the other three breaking through with some sort of magical, career year are relatively slim.

Then again, this is what Duquette does best.  He plucks piano movers away from teams, hands them the notes to Elton John’s Greatest Hits, and effectively says, “I know you’ve only moved pianos your whole life.  But I was hoping you might be able to play Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting.”

Duquette tries to make piano movers into piano players.

The great teams simply hire piano players to do that.

 

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Orioles trade Valencia to Kansas City for OF Lough

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Orioles trade Valencia to Kansas City for OF Lough

Posted on 18 December 2013 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles today announced that they have acquired outfielder David Lough from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for infielder Danny Valencia.

Lough, 27, batted .286/.311/.413 in 96 games for Kansas City in 2013, playing all three outfield positions. He finished 8th in the American League Rookie of the Year balloting, leading AL rookies in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) per both Baseball-Reference (2.7) and FanGraphs (2.4, tied with Tampa Bay’s Wil Myers).

Among all outfielders that played 500 or more innings in 2013, Lough ranked 9th overall with a +14.5 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR quantifies how many runs a player saved or allowed through their fielding skills, by combining the value of a player’s throwing arm, range and errors). Lough also ranked 6th among all outfielders in UZR/150, posting a +27.3 (UZR prorated over 150 games).

Originally selected by Kansas City in the 11th round of the 2007 First Year Player Draft out of Mercyhurst College, the left-handed hitter has batted .297/.349/.459 in seven minor league seasons in the Royals’ organization.

Valencia, 29, batted .304/.335/.553 in 170 plate appearances for the Orioles in 2013.

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Orioles recall Valencia to take Stinson’s place on 25-man roster

Posted on 19 August 2013 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Monday that they have recalled infielder Danny Valencia from Triple-A Norfolk.

Valencia, 28, has batted .216/.256/.500 in 25 games over three stints with the Orioles this season. He has hit .286/.326/.531 with 14 home runs and 51 RBI in 65 games for the Tides.

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Valencia recalled for Sunday’s game against Seattle

Posted on 04 August 2013 by WNST Staff

The Orioles announced Sunday that they have recalled infielder infielder Danny Valencia from Triple-A Norfolk.

Valencia is batting .200/.243/.443 (14-for-70) in 24 games for the Orioles this season and will serve as the designated hitter and bat seventh on Sunday afternoon.

He takes the place of right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson, who was optioned back to Norfolk following Saturday’s loss.

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Orioles option Valencia to Norfolk to make room for Rodriguez

Posted on 24 July 2013 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Wednesday that right-handed pitcher Francisco Rodriguez has reported to the club and they have optioned infielder Danny Valencia to Triple-A Norfolk.

Rodriguez was acquired from Milwaukee Tuesday night. He will wear uniform No. 57.

Valencia is batting .200/.243/.443 (14-for-70) in 24 games for the Orioles this season.

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Orioles DFA Dickerson, place Reimold on DL to make room for Urrutia, Valencia

Posted on 19 July 2013 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Friday that they have selected the contract of outfielder Henry Urrutia and recalled infielder Danny Valencia from Triple-A Norfolk. To make room for them on the 25- and 40-man rosters, outfielder Nolan Reimold has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 14, with nerve inflammation in the cervical spine, and outfielder Chris Dickerson has been designated for assignment.

Urrutia, 26, has batted a combined .365/.427/.531 in 67 games with Double-A Bowie (52 games, .365/.433/.550) and Triple-A Norfolk (15 games, .367/.406/.467) in his first professional season. He appeared in the Futures Game for the World Team on Sunday, going 0-for-3 with a walk. Urrutia (pronounced ooo-root-EE-uh) was signed by the Orioles as a non-drafted free agent on July 11, 2012. He will wear uniform #51 and become the 12th Cuban born player in Orioles franchise history when he makes his debut.

Valencia, 28, has batted .230/.277/.508 in 21 games for the Orioles this season. He has hit .314/.350/.607 in 48 games with the Tides this season.

Reimold, 29, has batted .195/.250/.336 in 40 games with the Orioles this season. He was also on the DL, May 12-July 2, with a right hamstring strain.

Dickerson, 31, batted .245/.274/.412 in 46 games for the Orioles after having his contract selected on April 10.

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Cuban outfielder Urrutia joins Orioles to start second half

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Cuban outfielder Urrutia joins Orioles to start second half

Posted on 18 July 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

After three red-hot months in which Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia feasted on minor-league pitching, it appears the wait to see him in Baltimore is over.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Orioles will promote the 26-year-old outfielder after he completed a short stint with Triple-A Norfolk in which he hit .367 in 60 at-bats. This success and his .365 average that included seven home runs and 37 RBIs at Double-A Bowie were more than enough to persuade the Orioles to give him a chance to pump life into a stagnant designated hitter role.

This season, the Orioles have hit only .197 with 14 homers and 40 RBIs while posting an anemic .643 OPS (on-base plug slugging percentage) from the DH spot.

In addition to Urrutia, MASN reports Danny Valencia is also on his way to Texas as the Orioles begin their post-break schedule with a three-game set against the Rangers. The additions of both Urrutia and Valencia would appear to be bad news for Nolan Reimold, who has batted .195 and struck out 41 times in 140 plate appearances this season.

Reimold is out of options, meaning the Orioles’ only choice would be to designated him for assignment unless he is heading back to the disabled list. Since returning from the DL earlier this month, Reimold is just 6-for-27 with a homer, three RBIs, and 11 strikeouts.

Urrutia would likely serve as the left-handed DH with Valencia serving as a right-handed bat off the bench and potential DH against left-handed starters. Given the current construction of the Orioles bench that includes two second basemen behind Brian Roberts, Ryan Flaherty would be a logical option to be optioned to Triple-A Norfolk due to his sporadic playing time since Roberts’ return.

With the non-waiver trade deadline less than two weeks away, the Orioles need to see if Urrutia can provide the necessary production from the DH spot that they haven’t received all year, and the 26-year-old has certainly proven worthy of an opportunity after performing admirably at the two highest levels of minor-league ball.

Jurrjens chooses free agency after clearning waivers

As was anticipated last week, the Jair Jurrjens era has officially come to an end in Baltimore.

Despite clearing waivers and being outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk, the 27-year-old pitcher has instead elected to become a free agent. The right-hander was designated for assignment to make room for right-handed reliever Jairo Asencio on the 40-man roster after the former Norfolk closer was promoted to the active roster.

In two appearances with Baltimore this year, Jurrjens made one start and one relief appearance, posting a 4.91 ERA in 7 1/3 innings of work. He had an up-and-down season with Norfolk, going 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA in 16 starts.

“At his young age, I still wouldn’t close the door,” said Showalter, who initially expressed hope that Jurrjens would remain with Norfolk despite a crowded starting rotation that now includes Zach Britton and Kevin Gausman. “I think Jair still has a chance to pitch competitively up here. He’s shown periods down there. It’s just been inconsistent.”

With his fastball only in the mid-to-high 80s, Jurrjens’ velocity never improved to the level at which he had so much success in Atlanta. His 2011 All-Star selection must feel like a distant memory for a pitcher who passed through waivers after he was designated for assignment by the club on July 12. Of course, injuries and declining velocity can spell disaster for any pitcher in a very short period of time.

Ironically, it was just two winters ago that the Orioles engaged in trade talks with the Atlanta Braves that involved current center fielder Adam Jones, with Jurrjens often being mentioned as a prominent name in a potential deal. Now, Jones is in the midst of his third All-Star season and Jurrjens is looking for work after going unclaimed by the other 29 major league teams.

The Orioles and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette couldn’t have dodged a bigger bullet.

Schoop thriving in rehab stint

Infield prospect Jonathan Schoop is nearing his return to Triple-A Norfolk after hitting his second home run in six games for the Gulf Coast League Orioles. The 21-year-old Schoop is 7-for-18 with two homers, two doubles, seven RBIs, and four walks on his rehab assignment.

Schoop hasn’t played a game for the Tides since being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lower back in late May. Norfolk began its second-half action Thursday night in Charlotte.

While Schoop’s chances for a promotion to Baltimore during the 2013 season were diminished greatly due to the injury, it will be interesting to see whether a strong rest of the season would put him in line for an opportunity to win the starting second baseman job to begin the 2014 season.

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Orioles option struggling Flaherty to Norfolk, recall Valencia

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Orioles option struggling Flaherty to Norfolk, recall Valencia

Posted on 18 May 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

Already losing designated hitter Nolan Reimold to the 15-day disabled list earlier in the day, the Orioles elected to send out struggling second baseman Ryan Flaherty following their 10-6 loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

Red-hot Norfolk infielder Danny Valencia was recalled to take his place on the 25-man roster and in the lineup as the designated hitter on Sunday.

Not in the Tides lineup on Saturday night, Valencia was hitting .306 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs in 160 at-bats at Triple A this season. His .939 on-base plus slugging percentage would seem to be an appropriate fit for an audition at the designated hitter spot while Reimold is sidelined with a hamstring injury.

With Tampa Bay left-hander Matt Moore scheduled to take the hill against the Orioles on Sunday, Valencia was deemed a good fit for the lineup after receiving the promotion. He’s hit .316 with an .831 OPS in his major league career against southpaw pitching. Valencia has primarily played third base for Norfolk, but he has also seen time at first base and the outfield this season.

The 28-year-old is already on the 40-man roster and owns a .257 career average with 25 home runs and 133 RBIs in 1017 at-bats in the big leagues split between the Minnesota Twins and the Boston Red Sox. In 2010, Valencia finished third in the American League Rookie of the Year balloting after hitting .310 with the Twins.

He will wear No. 35 for the Orioles.

The 26-year-old Flaherty was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk as he was hitting just .133 in 29 games this season while serving as the club’s primary option at second base in the absence of the injured Brian Roberts. Flaherty spent the entire 2012 season on the 25-man roster as a Rule 5 pick and hit .216 with six home runs and 19 RBIs.

Playing improved defense at second base this season, Flaherty is held in high regard by manager Buck Showalter, but it was becoming increasingly clear that his immense struggles at the plate weren’t improving enough for a contending club. Flaherty owns just 227 career plate appearances at the Triple-A level and could benefit from the opportunity of playing every day in a pressure-free environment to regain his confidence at the plate.

Showalter said the bullpen should be fine in terms of available arms for Sunday’s game despite starter Jair Jurrjens going just five innings on Saturday, and the club would have been down to a three-man bench if it had decided to promote another pitcher instead of tabbing Valencia for a promotion.

 

 

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Five questions to ponder for Orioles spring training

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Five questions to ponder for Orioles spring training

Posted on 13 February 2013 by Luke Jones

The Orioles held their first workouts for pitchers and catchers to officially kick off spring training in Sarasota on Wednesday.

Trying to build on a 93-win campaign that included their first trip to the playoffs in 15 years, the Orioles have several questions marks after a quiet offseason void of significant moves.

Here are five questions to ponder as Baltimore begins preparations for the 2013 season:

1. Can Nolan Reimold stay healthy and be the impact bat the Orioles failed to acquire in the offseason?

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette failed in his quest to acquire a middle-of-the-order bat, but a healthy Reimold would go a long way in providing the extra offense the Orioles are looking for after they finished ninth in runs scored and 11th in on-base percentage in the American League last season. Of course, expecting Reimold to stay injury-free has only resulted in frustration over the years as the left fielder missed most of last season after undergoing spinal fusion surgery.

The good news is Reimold is already taking live batting practice and appears to be 100 percent for spring training as he will compete with Nate McLouth for the starting job in left field. McLouth is the superior fielder and has more speed, but few would argue Reimold’s ability at the plate as he hit .313 with five home runs in 67 at-bats last season.

The club could elect to use Reimold as the designated hitter more frequently to keep him healthy, and he would be an ideal fit in the No. 2 spot because of his plate discipline (a career .338 on-base percentage in 916 plate appearances in the majors) or in the fifth or sixth spot because of his power. At 29, Reimold appears to be running out of time as a viable option on which the Orioles can depend moving forward, but the club signed him for $1 million in the offseason and maintains control of him through the 2015 season.

Duquette didn’t acquire an established veteran bat and also parted ways with slugger Mark Reynolds, so this spring will be critical for Reimold to prove he can provide extra punch to the lineup. If he’s again unhealthy, the Orioles will be forced to lean more heavily on McLouth, who carries his own baggage despite a 2012 renaissance in Baltimore.

2. What will the starting rotation look like when the Orioles come north to Baltimore?

The starting rotation would appear to have a more definitive outline than it did as this time last year as Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, and Chris Tillman all put forth career seasons in 2012, but none of those four come without questions this spring. Concerns over Hammel’s knee were eased with his ability to pitch effectively in the postseason, but the Orioles hope he can replicate his first half last season when he looked like an ace and was included in the fan vote for the final spot on the AL All-Star team.

Chen and Gonzalez will need to prove their rookie campaigns weren’t flukes as the rest of the league will be more familiar with each and the latter’s 170-pound frame will always cause some to question his durability over a full season. Adjustments made to Tillman’s mechanics by director of pitching development Rick Peterson paid major dividends last year, but the 24-year-old will need to replicate that success over an entire season in the big leagues.

Even if those four pick up right where they left off, manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair must sift through a number of other candidates to replace the fifth spot in the rotation left behind by veteran left Joe Saunders, who signed with Seattle last week. Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz, Steve Johnson, Zach Britton, and Tommy Hunter will all be in the mix, but each comes with their limitations and concerns.

The Orioles continue to point to strength in numbers as it pertains to the starting rotation as 12 pitchers made starts for Baltimore last season. And to offer some perspective on how quickly things can change due to injury or ineffectiveness, three-fifths of the rotation that began the 2012 season landed in the minor leagues by the All-Star break.

The top four will have the inside track for rotation spots entering the spring, but Showalter won’t hesitate to make changes quickly if anyone isn’t up to the task.

3. Who will step up to play second base?

Yes, Brian Roberts is still with the Orioles as he enters the final season of a four-year contract that’s seen him play 115 games combined in the last three years. The 35-year-old infielder appears to be recovered from hip surgery and an offseason surgery to correct a sports hernia, but viewing Roberts as a viable option feels more like you’re being polite than at all realistic.

The Orioles acquired the slick-fielding Alexi Casilla off waivers from the Minnesota Twins after the switch-hitting second baseman played in a career-high 106 games last season. The 28-year-old is a career .250 hitter and provides good speed (21 stolen bases in 2012), but it remains to be seen whether he can handle full-time duties at the plate or he’ll be exposed over a bigger sample of at-bats.

The most intriguing option from an offensive perspective would be Ryan Flaherty, who split duties at second base with the departed Robert Andino at the end of last season. Thought limited defensively, Flaherty hit six home runs in 153 at-bats as a Rule 5 player who stuck on the 25-man roster all season.

Because of Showalter’s preference for strong defense up the middle, Casilla would appear to be the favorite to handle the bulk of the duties at second base due to Roberts’ frailty and Flaherty’s limitations in the field. However, this will remain a very fluid position to watch as the spring progresses.

4. How will Showalter handle the designated hitter spot in the order?

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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Orioles’ Valencia listed in records of alleged PED clinic

Posted on 06 February 2013 by WNST Staff

With Major League Baseball investigating the Biogenesis clinic and operator Anthony Bosch, the Orioles have now been drawn into the story as third baseman Danny Valencia is listed in the records in a report from Yahoo! Sports.

According to the article, Valencia’s named is not linked to any specific performance enhancing drugs, but his mention will draw scrutiny along with the many others including Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, and Melky Cabrera.

Valencia released a statement Tuesday evening that was passed along by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick:

“As any innocent person would be, I am shocked and troubled that my name is in any way connected to this story. I have never met or spoken to anyone connected with Biogenesis, in fact I had never even heard of this company prior to the New Times’ story. I take tremendous pride in the hard work and dedication I put into being a professional baseball player and have never taken PEDs or failed a drug test of any kind during my career. I look forward to fully cooperating in MLB’s investigation in any way that I can, and will explore taking legal action if this issue is not resolved in a timely fashion.”

The Orioles purchased his contract from the Boston Red Sox in late November.

Last season, Valencia hit .188 with three home runs and 21 runs batted in in 154 at-bats with the Minnesota Twins and Boston. He will be a candidate to platoon at the designated hitter spot with Wilson Betemit.

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