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While not much with the bat, Valdez provided good value to the Phillies as insurance. The Phillies saw each part of the infield succumb to injury over the past two seasons: third baseman Placido Polanco missed 60 games, Jimmy Rollins missed 92 games, and Chase Utley missed 97 games. As a result, Valdez made 24 starts at third base, 70 at shortstop, and 68 at second base. He wasn’t much with the bat (.285 wOBA), but played average defense and ran the bases well — he was the second-best runner on the team behind Shane Victorino, according to EQBRR from Baseball Prospectus.
At Phillies Nation, Pat Gallen lists some possible candidates to fill the vacant spot left by Valdez:
This certainly opens things up for the Phillies when it comes to the roster. They can go out and sign another utility guy or scour the minor league level for someone of that ilk. Some middle infielder names still available are Aaron Miles, Bill Hall, Jeff Keppinger, Ryan Theriot, Edgar Renteria, Miguel Tejada, and Felipe Lopez, among others.
It will be interesting to see how the Phillies approach this, whether by relying on Michael Martinez or going outside of the organization for one of the few remaining free agents.
Meanwhile, Horst is a 26-year-old lefty reliever coming off of his rookie season. In 15 and one-third innings with the Reds last year, he struck out nine and walked six. However, over his five-year Minor League career, he has a career K/9 and BB/9 at 8.5 and 2.9, respectively — not too shabby.
Horst’s fastball sits in the high-80′s. Behind that, he uses a slider and change-up that both register in the low-80′s. He comes in as the Phillies’ third lefty reliever and will compete for a spot in the back of the Phillies’ bullpen.
Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer has some interesting quotes from Ruben Amaro, who explains his thought process in dealing Valdez. The utility infielder will turn 34 in May, and for as much as fans loved him, he is the definition of a replacement-level player. Getting anything of value in return for Valdez has to be considered a win and they did so with a potential diamond in the rough in Horst.