Tag: Matt Downs

Wilson Valdez AP

Marlins sign infielder Wilson Valdez to minor league contract


According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, the Marlins have signed infielder Wilson Valdez to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Valdez was released by the Giants yesterday after he batted just .194 (7-for-36) in 18 games during Cactus League play. However, he’ll now have a chance to beat out Matt Downs, Nick Green and Chris Valaika for a utility infielder job in Miami.

Valdez, who turns 35 in May, batted just .206/.236/.227 in 208 plate appearances with the Reds last season.

Marlins to sign Matt Downs to minor league contract

Matt Downs Getty

According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Marlins are close to signing Matt Downs to a minor league contract. He’s expected to get an invitation to spring training.

Downs, who turns 29 in March, batted .202/.253/.371 with eight home runs, 16 RBI and a .623 OPS in 191 plate appearances with the Astros last season. Originally drafted by the Giants back in 2006, he owns a .230/.296/.406 batting line in the majors.

Downs offers some pop from the right side and versatility between the infield and the outfield, so he could make the Marlins in a super-utility role.

Astros place Fernando Martinez on 7-day concussion disabled list

Fernando Martinez Getty
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Fernando Martinez just can’t catch a break.

The injury-prone former top prospect has received semi-regular playing time in right field since joining the Astros last weekend, but Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle reports that he’s now headed to the 7-day disabled list with post-concussion syndrome.

It’s not clear when Martinez hurt himself, but he’ll need to pass a concussion test before resuming baseball activities. Matt Downs has been recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take his place on the active roster.

While it’s an unfortunate turn of events for Martinez, he hasn’t exactly been tearing things up since his promotion. The 23-year-old outfielder is just 1-for-15 with nine strikeouts.

UPDATE: Levine writes that the origin of Martinez’s concussion was likely a hit-by-pitch when he was still in Triple-A. Astros manager Brad Mills believes his condition may have been aggravated when he dove for a ball.

Running down the rosters: Houston Astros

Wandy Rodriguez

The 2012 Astros are pretty sure bets to lose 100 games, with the big question being whether they’ll top last year’s mark of 106 losses. That achievement will be tied to their ability to move the contracts of Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers and Carlos Lee. Ideally, they’d be able to sell off at least the latter two. Still, as marginal as Myers and Lee have become, they still rank among the team’s better players.

Wandy Rodriguez – L
Brett Myers – R
Bud Norris – R
J.A. Happ – L
Livan Hernandez – R

Wilton Lopez – R
David Carpenter – R
Sergio Escalona – L
Wesley Wright – L
Juan Abreu – R
Fernando Rodriguez – R
Rhiner Cruz – R (Rule 5)

Disabled list: Brandon Lyon – R
SP next in line: Jordan Lyles (R), Zach Duke (L), Kyle Weiland (R), Henry Sosa (R), Paul Clemens (R), Lucas Harrell (R)
RP next in line: Fernando Abad (L), Aneury Rodriguez (R), Jose Valdez (R), Enerio Del Rosario (R)

I had Lyles penciled into the rotation before the Hernandez and Duke signings, but unless Rodriguez or Myers is dealt this spring, now it seems likely that he’ll get some additional minor league seasoning. That’s probably for the best. Lyles held his own in the majors last season, but he’s just 21 and he still has some work to do.

The bullpen will be one of the game’s least experienced even if Lyon makes it back from shoulder surgery and contributes this season. I think it’s a long shot that he’ll prove useful, but since he’s making $5.5 million, he’ll probably get a chance to close if he proves healthy. In the meantime, just about anyone could win the job. Lopez has far and away the best track record, but no one seems to buy him as a long-term option as a closer. Carpenter might be the better bet. Abreu has the best stuff of the group, but his control is awful.

I’m giving Cruz a spot initially, though I’m skeptical he’ll be of any use.

CF Jordan Schafer – L
2B Jose Altuve – R
SS Jed Lowrie – S
1B Carlos Lee – R
LF J.D. Martinez – R
RF Brian Bogusevic – L
3B Jimmy Paredes – S
C Jason Castro – R

C Chris Snyder – R
INF Matt Downs – R
INF Marwin Gonzalez – S (Rule 5)
OF Jack Cust – L
OF Jason Bourgeois – R

Next in line: C Humberto Quintero (R), INF Angel Sanchez (R), 3B Chris Johnson (R), 1B Brett Wallace (L), INF-OF Brian Bixler (R), OF Travis Buck (L), OF Fernando Martinez (L), OF J.B. Shuck (L), OF Justin Ruggiano (R)

That’s the lineup of a team that simply doesn’t figure to score many runs. The Astros would probably be better off for 2012 with Downs at third base and Cust in left field, with Martinez sliding to right, but those make for small gains and they might as well see if Paredes and Bogusevic belong in their future plans. I’m not really expecting either to stick.

The more important players here are Schafer, Lowrie and Castro. If they can overcome their injury histories, then they might join Altuve on a competitive Astros team come 2014. No one from the group ever figures to become an All-Star (well, except for the fact that someone will have to represent the Astros in the Midsummer Classic), but they can be solid players at key positions. When the Astros are ready to contend again someday, it’ll be easier to upgrade at the corners than it will be up the middle.