Phillies Send Wilson Valdez to Cincinnati

Per CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury:

So long to good guy Wilson Valdez, traded to Cincy for LHP Jeremy Horst, Phillies announce.

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.

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28 comments

  1. Phillie697

    January 25, 2012 05:30 PM

    Hmm… Just looking at his numbers now… He has started in games as recently as 2010. He could be the next Kyle Kendricks, with slightly more strikeouts. I wonder if the Phils will give him a chance to start again in AAA.

  2. awh

    January 25, 2012 05:41 PM

    If they sign someone like Keppinger to replace Valdez I’m ok eith the move.

    Going with minimart is just plain foolish.

  3. Phillie697

    January 25, 2012 06:37 PM

    Can’t say I have the same distaste for minimart as you. He was at least the equal of Valdez. His fielding numbers in the infield last year were above average; it’s his sucky outfield defensive numbers that dragged him down on the defensive front. I doubt we’ll be playing him in the outfield next year (I hope).

    As for his offensive production, he had an absurdly low BABIP of .220, completely out of line with his minor league numbers, even though nothing in his batted ball profile suggests anything alarming. His ISO is also a bit on the low side compared to his overall minor league numbers, but I am willing to concede that he may not improve on his power numbers (although he has some speed so maybe he might develop some doubles power as his BABIP improves). His BB% and K% are in line with career norms, and FanGraphs projects him for a .299 wOBA, which is higher than ANY of Valdez’s major league seasons, and higher than what Jeff Keppinger did last season.

    If you didn’t think having Valdez was plain foolish, why would you consider minimart plain foolish?

  4. hk

    January 25, 2012 07:02 PM

    Valdez was worth 1.1 WAR in 2010 and 0.0 WAR when (according to UZR) his defense suffered. Martinez, who is 29 years old, produced a career MiLB OBP of .315 and was .4 runs below replacement last year. I don’t see any reason to expect Martinez to improve, so I think as of now, the bench is worse.

  5. John

    January 25, 2012 09:12 PM

    I don’t mind the trade, in fact the Phillies probably come out on top in it…but the issue is that it leave Martinez on the team…which there is no excuse for. Martinez should not be on a major league roster anywhere. He can’t field, run, or hit well…..but he is a body that can play 6 positions. If there is a corresponding move that Ruben makes I’ll be happy. If Martinez is on the opening day roster, that is just sad.

  6. Jeff

    January 25, 2012 09:55 PM

    Part of the reason Martinez has such a low BABIP is because he’s susceptible to the Pee Wee League defense: all 9 defenders within 60 feet of the plate. Not like he hits it over their heads.

  7. Bob Spera

    January 25, 2012 10:20 PM

    Ruben is not finished. I think the Phils will try to go after David Wright of the Mets. Maybe trade Kyle Kendrick and use Polanco as a utility infielder/pinch hitter.

  8. agam22

    January 25, 2012 10:45 PM

    David Wright for Martinez. Maybe throw in Joe Savery. But only if they’re willing to eat some of his salary this year

  9. Jonny

    January 25, 2012 11:18 PM

    Valdez had some very nice flashes of leather that would soon be forgotten with hitting into double plays pretty consistently.

    “David Wright for Sam Perlozzo, get it done Ruben”

    LOL!!! Can’t we trade Sammy P. for a Mr. Met signed batting helmet if they don’t bite on that?

  10. ColonelTom

    January 25, 2012 11:29 PM

    I don’t see them taking on Wright’s salary, but Cespedes is a possibility (long shot but never count Amaro out), and I’m sure they have at least inquired about Koji Uehara from Texas. Uehara would be a huge upgrade in the eighth inning.

  11. Wilsonvaldezisinthehalloffame

    January 26, 2012 02:13 AM

    So let me get this straight, we trade away our best bullpen arm for some minor league scrub? really?

  12. GM-Carson

    January 26, 2012 08:38 AM

    Valdez is the definition of a utility infielder. Plays adequate defense and isn’t good enough to start regularly, but his bat is better than minor league/Quad-A players. He did a serviceable job over the past 2 seasons.

    Martinez on the other had is terrible offensivley. He was bad in the minors (.683 OPS), and doesn’t really have upside at 29 years old.

    Valdez is better than Martinez.

    Horst may end up being useful, so that’s nice, but right now the bench is weaker because of this trade.

  13. topherstarr

    January 26, 2012 09:20 AM

    This is a wise move, much as I am a fan of Wilson and his facial hair.

    1) The Phillies should enter the season with the expectation that the utility infielder will get fewer than 250 at bats. Even if Valdez is quantifiably better than Martinez (which, as Phillie697 points out, isn’t certain), the difference isn’t as valuable as the extra $500K or so that the Phillies save, especially given their luxury tax situation.
    2) If one of the regular infielders does go down and you need a backup to play for an extended amount of time, this deal offers a little more financial flexibility to make a move for someone better.
    3) Mini-Mart no longer has the Rule 5 restriction, so he can be optioned to the minors if he is struggling, in favor of one of the other guys. Any one of Martinez, Orr, Frandsen, Luna, or Galvis could go on a BABIP-fueled hot streak and be better than Valdez for a few weeks, and each of them is cheaper than Valdez.

  14. Scott G

    January 26, 2012 09:55 AM

    I feel bad for Valdez. Now he has to witness Joe Morgan running around the clubhouse naked.

  15. Phillie697

    January 26, 2012 10:14 AM

    @hk,

    Personally I don’t think either Valdez OR MiniMart should be on the team to begin with, but I don’t think Valdez is any better than MiniMart. Any disagreement you might have on that tho, really doesn’t mean much to me, since I don’t care much for either of them, LOL… except for the Valdez’s pitching prowess. Now that’s legendary.

  16. Phillie697

    January 26, 2012 10:18 AM

    @topherstarr,

    “The Phillies should enter the season with the expectation that the utility infielder will get fewer than 250 at bats.” Unfortunately that statement will be oh oh oh so wrong.

    You mentioned Galvis, and I thought for about 5.7 seconds that this could be our way of freeing up some playing time for him… Until I remembered Ruben “Dom Brown Needs Another Year in AAA” Amaro is our GM.

  17. hk

    January 26, 2012 10:23 AM

    697,

    I agree. Valdez was the lesser of two evils, neither of whom should be on the 25 man roster of a team with a payroll of $170M+. If whoever fills the utility IF role doesn’t get more than 150 PA’s, I will continue to not care much. However, if Martinez gets ~234 PA’s again and is on the post-season roster, I will revisit the issue of why overpaying Papelbon did impact the roster.

  18. Phillie697

    January 26, 2012 10:26 AM

    @Jeff,

    “Part of the reason Martinez has such a low BABIP is because he’s susceptible to the Pee Wee League defense: all 9 defenders within 60 feet of the plate. Not like he hits it over their heads.”

    Martinez had a 16.2% LD rate. It’s not good, no, but it’s also not terrible (Pujols LD rate was only 17%). That’s why I said his batted ball profile doesn’t even remotely suggest a .220 BABIP. By comparison Valdez hits even more GBs than Martinez (hence why he’s the GIDP king), yet he had a .288 BABIP.

  19. Phillie697

    January 26, 2012 10:28 AM

    @hk,

    You and I agree on the important stuff, that’s all that matters, LOL.

  20. James K.

    January 26, 2012 11:58 AM

    I find it fascinating that some of the people praising this move as a salary dump are the same ones justifying the Howard and Papelbon contracts.

    That being said, I like this trade as a baseball move.

  21. JRFarmer

    January 26, 2012 01:12 PM

    >> I will revisit the issue of why overpaying Papelbon did impact the roster.
    >> same ones justifying the Howard and Papelbon contracts.

    Some day during the 2013 season, we’ll remember a talented lefty named Cole, and wonder why he’s no longer on the team. We’ll look at 1st base, then we’ll look at the bullpen, and we’ll remember.

    All for naught, though, because RAJr will still think he did it right.

  22. hk

    January 26, 2012 01:34 PM

    JRFarmer, that will be a sad day indeed.

  23. awh

    January 26, 2012 01:46 PM

    A’s just DFA’d former Phils’ 1st rounder Adrian Cardenas – .314/.374/.418 at Sacramento/PCL last year.

    He went to OAK in the Blanton trade. Played LF, SS, 2B, and 3B last season.

    Did RAJ know this was coming, and is this why Valdez got moved?

  24. Phillie697

    January 26, 2012 02:30 PM

    @awh,

    Why does that matter? Rule 5 draft is over.

  25. Wilsonvaldezisinthehalloffame

    January 26, 2012 05:41 PM

    JRFarmer, you’re forgetting one thing, the huge free agent class next year, cole hamels is lumped in with literally 25-30 other players commanding 8 figure salaries whom teams will need to secure first.

  26. Jeff

    January 26, 2012 06:15 PM

    @Phillie697: Sorry, I tried to write that so blatantly as to not require statistical analysis. I mean: what team actually packs all 9 guys inside the pitching mound?

  27. Phillie697

    January 26, 2012 10:08 PM

    @Jeff,

    I’ve been not getting sarcasm these last few days. Must be the extra stress at work, LOL.

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