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.