The Mariners officially acquired third baseman Danny Valencia from the Athletics on Saturday, per reports by MLB.com’s Jeff Passan and Greg Johns. The club will send minor league RHP Paul Blackburn to Oakland in a 1-to-1 trade.
Valencia had a banner year with the Athletics, batting .287/.346/.446 with 17 home runs in 517 PA and putting up 1.1 fWAR in his first full season in Oakland. The 32-year-old was primarily stationed at third base during the first half of the 2016 season, but a clubhouse altercation with Billy Butler in August and poor defensive instincts at the hot corner resulted in diminished playing time. He profiles well in right field and first base, where he might provide the Mariners with a decent platoon option in addition to his right-handed bat. It’s unlikely that he’ll see enough time at third base to present any kind of threat to Kyle Seager, Seattle’s long-established third baseman.
Blackburn was acquired by the Mariners in July as part of the deal that sent left-hander Mike Montgomery to the Cubs. He split his season between the Mariners’ and Cubs’ Double-A squads, posting a 3.27 ERA and striking out 99 batters over 25 starts and 143 innings. According to MLB.com’s top prospect list, the righty was ranked as Seattle’s 18th best overall prospect in 2016.
Mariners’ GM Jerry Dipoto issued a statement following confirmation of the deal:
Danny’s skill set is a good fit for our club,” Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. “He’s been a very productive offensive player, especially against left-handed pitching. In addition, his ability to handle all four corner positons [sic] presents Scott with a welcome level of flexibility when creating lineups.
Valencia will remain under club control through the 2017 season.
The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.
Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:
I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.
In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.
“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”
Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.
For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.