The Mariners Saturday acquired 32-year-old INF/OF Danny Valencia from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for minor league RHP Paul Blackburn. Valencia hit .287 with 17 home runs and 51 RBIs in 130 games last season while playing all corner positions (first base, third, left field, right). Valencia said on a conference call Saturday afternoon that he was told he will play first base and some right field for Seattle.
“Danny’s skill set is a good fit for our club,” said GM Jerry Dipoto. “He’s been a very productive offensive player, especially against left-handed pitching. In addition, his ability to handle all four corner positions presents Scott (manager Servais) with a welcome level of flexibility when creating lineups.”
Dipoto acknowledged that the acquisition of Valencia means “there is very little likelihood” that Dae-Ho Lee would return to the club.
Valencia scored 72 runs with 22 doubles and one triple for the A’s, also setting career high in walks (41). He led the AL in line drive percentage (28.5). Against left-handed pitching, he hit .318 with seven doubles, seven home runs, 19 RBIs and a .924 OPS.
Valencia made his MLB debut in 2010 and finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting. In seven seasons, he has hit .271 with 278 runs, 127 doubles, eight triples, 72 home runs and 303 RBIs in 656 career games with Minnesota (2010-12), Boston (2012), Baltimore (2013), Kansas City (2014), Toronto (2014-15) and Oakland (2015-16).
In his career against lefties, he’s hit .321 with 26 home runs, 124 RBIs and an .873 OPS. Valencia was drafted by Minnesota in the 19th round in 2006 out of the University of Miami.
Blackburn, 22, went 9-5 with a 3.27 ERA over 26 games, including 25 starts, between AA Tennessee (Cubs) and AA Jackson (Seattle). He was named to the Southern League Northern Division All-Star team before being acquired by the Mariners along with 1B Daniel Vogelbach from the Cubs in exchange for LHP Mike Montgomery and RHP Jordan Pries July 20. He was drafted by the Cubs in the first in 2012.
Seattle’s major league roster now includes 37 players.