Relax. Relax. Nothing major going on here, no other shoe to drop. Just bear with me…

This evening MLBTR passed along a tweet from the Houston Astros informing us that the Jays have acquired Raul Valdes, a 36-year-old left-handed reliever, for a player to be named later, or cash. That got some ears to perk up, but to say that it’s a trade between the Jays and the Astros, and not one between those two organizations is a bit of a misnomer.

Valdes is out of options, which is exactly why, in order to get him to triple-A earlier this month, the Astros had to outright him. Valdes accepted the outright assignment, rather than elect free agency, and as a thank you for his troubles, the Astros have now shipped him off. But because he was no longer on their 40-man, he doesn’t need to be optioned or added to the Jays’ active roster. He can simply be sent to Buffalo, where he’ll add to the club’s thin left-handed relief depth. In terms of true relievers (i.e. not Happ, Nolin, Romero, etc.), the Jays only have Rob Rassmussen, Ryan Rowland-Smith (himself only with the club less than a month), and Richard Bleier waiting in the wings at Buffalo behind their invaluable tandem of Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup on the major league roster.

Bluebird Banter’s Minor Leaguer tweets that Rowland-Smith has a June 1st opt-out clause in his contract if he isn’t in the Majors, which is all the more reason for the Jays to be making a move like this.

Valdes may not look like much — besides proof that if you’re a lefty of anything resembling major league quality, you can forge a halfway decent career for yourself — but there is enough in him to understand why he’s intriguing. He had a bad 3.2 innings of work out of the Astros’ bullpen this year — three walks, two homers, and five earned runs over eight appearances — but over his three preceding partial seasons in the majors (78 IP), he struck out 10.0 batters per nine innings, walked just 2.19 per nine, and had a 3.51 FIP and 3.44 xFIP to offset a less pretty 4.96 ERA. And against lefties over that same sample, he was even better, striking out 45 and walking just six in 34 innings worth of work in the split, holding opposing hitters to a .266 wOBA.

He’s not a hard thrower (averaged 86.5 on his fastball the last two years), which, frankly, sounds scary as shit to have to potentially watch at some point down the line, but if the club is in enough of a race to need a LOOGY when rosters expand in September (fingers crossed!), or they need some cover should one of their big league relievers go down, he’s not the worst little pickup, by the looks of it.

That said, it’s a decidedly minor move. Let’s not get excited about it or anything.

Mike Wilner tweets confirmation that Valdes will indeed go to Buffalo, and that another roster move will be made later to make up for Marcus Stroman’s very sensible demotion yesterday.

It will be Valdes’s second stint in Buffalo, as he was there in 2010 as a member of the Mets organization, striking out 36 and walking 9 in 36 innings of 3.00 ERA relief work. The Jays are his seventh MLB organization since 2005, following the Cubs, Mets, Cardinals, Yankees, Phillies, and Astros. During that span he also pitched in independent ball, and spent the entirety of 2008 and 2009 in the Dominican and Venezuelan leagues.

Comments (74)

  1. Plan the motherfucking parade!!


    • That is indeed dumb. As dumb as your history of comments? Hardly.

      Folks, feel free to tweet at me whenever this tool pops up in the comments here. He doesn’t get to play.

  3. Gotta love the “told you so” fucking negative douchebags out there trumpeting the Stroman demotion. Haters go home, the kid needs more innings, he will be back up soon for a start, be nice to see what the kid can do…

    Now about Liam Hendricks… Has he earned himself a cup of coffee?

    • In Buffalo this year, his traditional stats are pretty good.
      1.48 ERA and 0.80 WHIP in 48.2 IP over 9 games (7 starts)
      So, yeah, he’s probably earned his cup of coffee.

      Hard to get excited when you realize
      he could not stick with the pitching deprived Twins;
      but, he’s only in his age 25 season so who knows.

    • Buck trashed Hendricks today on Blair’s show. Said he gets hit hard (in AAA) and doesn’t have any outstanding pitches – very meh sounding. But it is Buck after all…

  4. As I mentioned on a previou post ,Isn’t PTBNL the guy we received from KC for Bonicrapio?

  5. Its usually these small deals that end up having important roles on this team. Watch valdes be the closer by july.

  6. Lovely weather today.

  7. Looking ahead, a few areas of interest.

    Attendance is down. If were in roughly the same position at end of June (5 games over 500, say 2 games out), not sure AA can get ownership to take on more payroll. Were already a top 10 payroll, with attendance down I can’t see them being able to trade prospects for high salary guys, so what to do?

    If Francisco keeps this up, does the thought of trading Lind enter the equation. Lets say Lind to Seattle for Franklin? or Lind for pitching? Whats the bigger need?

    With Francisco and Reyes on left side of infield, will be very difficult for groundball pitchers to succeed (i.e. Stroman),

    Going into next year, and assuming payroll doesnt go up, whats the best distribution of payroll? If Francisco’s bat holds up for another month, can we seriously look at resigning Cabrera (I havent watched many games,not sure how his defence looks), possible platoon in centre with Pillar and Gose, Francisco at DH, add a lefthanded bat off bench and whatever we can get for Lind.

    Assuming payroll is not going up, what do you guys think?

    • If payroll isn’t going up, which is a reasonable assumption given where we are with Rogers, then I don’t think the current roster is sustainable moving forward. Colby/Melky/Lind gone for sure, but the scheduled increases and arb raises to other guys will probably offset that.

      So you’ve got the same payroll as 2014 but you’re replacing three positive WAR contributors with replacement level guys (Pillar, Gose, and probably Dan Johnson/some waiver wire guy I guess?).

      On the pitching side, you obviously decline Morrow and Santos’ options, and let Janssen go. A few bucks saved there, but you still only have 3 serviceable starters, and maybe 3 pen guys you can trust. Again, everybody else gets more expensive so not much to spend.

      All in all, I think if this year’s team can’t make a run — and it doesn’t look likely — they need to blow it up and start over. Get value for Bautista, EE, maybe even Dickey and Buehrle. Colby and Melky could be traded at the deadline for guys who are closer to the majors than the draft picks we would otherwise get. With some decent upper majors prospects and a <$50 mil payroll that could eventually be leveraged, the team could compete again by 2017-2018, which isn't that bad.

      • That really is the frustrating with with Rogers, isn’t it? This team is right there this year. The bullpen I think is fine if they’re being used less. The rotation needs another solid starter. But Rogers will only go half way; They’ll ante up once, not see an immediate World Series win, and quickly close the purse strings. They did the same thing after 2006.

        While they’re a corporation that wants to make money, you have to spend money to make it. It’s funny that they’ll do that with hockey, essentially buying the NHL, but won’t recognize that the Jays could use a little more financial help to make a move.

  8. I’m guessing Ryan Rowland Smith never unpacked his bags

  9. sorry I’m not keeping up. does anybody know what happened to Luis Perez? I seem to remember him being in spring training and throwing pretty hard.

  10. Lyle Overbay pitched in relief for Milwaukee tonight.


  11. Who do you gotta fuck to get some bacon around here?

    Not you I hope?

  12. The names listed in the above piece are why, when i have a son I shall teach him to be left handed and how to throw a changeup.

  13. Fun thing I just read…
    I knew Buerhle’s durability was impressive, but I don’t think I knew just how exclusive of a club he’s in right now:

    Buerhle “has made 30 or more starts and pitched 200 or more innings in each of the last 13 seasons and is well on pace to make it 14 this year. To put that in context, just 16 pitchers in baseball history have had 14 such seasons in their entire careers, never mind consecutively, and every single one of them is in the Hall of Fame. Only seven of those pitchers had 14 consecutive seasons with 200 or more innings pitched; Steve Carlton would have made it eight if not for the 1981 strike. Buehrle will be the eighth if he stays healthy and effective this season.”


    • If you liked that, then you might like this.

      There are 2 pitchers who have pitched over 200 innings and had 10 wins, 13 years in a row.
      Mark Buerhle and Cy Young.
      If Buerhle does it again this year,he will surpass Cy Young.

      • Having said all of that, hopefully he stays healthy and next year he gets to make history. But the big question is, do you try to re-sign him? I’m guessing with his resilience and consistancy his contract is the biggest bargain in MLB.

    • In my opinion, what Buerhle has and continues to accomplish in the “glass arm” era of baseball is worthy of HOF consideration.

      • 57.0 career WAR says it all, and I could see him going strong for quite a few years yet.

        • Starting Pitcher (93rd), 56.3 career WAR/35.8 7yr-peak WAR/46.0 JAWS
          Average HOF P (out of 59) = 73.4 career WAR/50.2 7yr-peak WAR/61.8 JAWS

          Still has some work to do for sure.

  14. In honour of today’s game:

    A first grade teacher explains to her class that she is a Boston Red Sox fan. She asks her students to raise their hands if they were Red Sox fans, too.

    Not really knowing what a Red Sox fan was, but wanting to be like their teacher, hands explode into the air. There is, however, one exception. A boy named Andrew has not gone along with the crowd.

    The teacher asks him why he has decided to be different. “Because I’m not a Red Sox fan.”

    “Then,” asks the teacher, “what are you?”

    “Why I’m proud to be a Blue Jays fan.”, boasts the little boy.

    The teacher is a little perturbed now, her face slightly red. She asks Andrew why he is a Blue Jays fan.

    “Well, My Dad and Mom are Blue Jays fans, and I’m a Blue Jays fan, too!”

    The teacher is now angry. “That’s no reason,” she says loudly. “What if your mom was a moron, and your dad was a moron, What would you be then?”

    A pause, and a smile. “Then,” says Andrew, “I’d be a Red Sox fan.”

    • Dear god that made me laugh.

    • +1000
      Jesuscrist that was good

    • The teacher is a little perturbed now, her face slightly red. She asks Andrew why he is a Blue Jays fan.

      “Well, Wilner told me to be one and I do whatever Wilner says”

      The teacher is now angry. “That’s no reason,” she says loudly. “What if your mom was a moron, and your dad was a moron, What would you be then?”

      A pause, and a smile. “Then,” says Andrew, “I’d be Tom W.”

  15. I appreciate these posts as it gives insight as to why the Blue Jays are making a move and not just reporting that they made a move. Yes a bit of a crotch grab to Stoeten but quality work deserves recognition every now and then.

    It’s an veteran left handed arm. Valdes may come in handy at some point in the season but at least the trade addresses a need in Buffalo.

  16. I feel good about the Jays right now – please don’t let us be the “spring-board” or turning-point for the Red Sox to start a big run.

    Losing to these guys, no matter what place they’re in, blows.

  17. As per Sportsnet, Rasmussen has been called up.

  18. I had never heard of Liam Hendriks, but apparently he’s a guy we picked up on waivers this offseaons from Minnie?

    ESPN’s probables says he’s starting for us this week.

  19. When is new DJF podcast coming? I keep trying to listen to Fangraphs or BP ones but not once did I hear them refer to a player as a shitbag (making them unbearable to listen to)

    • I believe he mentioned on the last one, that they would be sporadic from now on. I don’t think the Score really sees much value in it.

  20. Since we’ve been talking about trading or keeping top prospects lately, I just thought I’d bring up former superstar prospect Mike Olt, who you might remember was the “other” untouchable prospect the Rangers had, besides Profar.

    Right now is basically his rookie season, other than a cup of coffee he had with Texas a couple of seasons ago. He’s with the Cubs now, and through 114 plate appearances, he’s batting .176 with 9 HRs. He’s got an OBP of .254, yet an OPS of .705. This has led to him being worth precisely 0.0 WAR so far.

    Huge power, low on-base and average. Kind of reminds me of someone, right? (In fairness, given that this is just his second month in the bigs, it is still too early for him.)

  21. Think AA would look into prying the corpse of Dan Uggla from the Braves? Romero for Uggla?

    If Francisco hadnt been killing the ball, I would wonder more about this, but not sure the Jays want to keep shuffling around 2b and 3b with another guy to the mix who like Phat Juan is more about all offense and limited defense.

    Then Juan would need to find a position to play and going to be hard taking too many spots from Lind/EE at 1b and DH.

    • for me, both players are pretty much finished, but with Uggla it’s age related decline as opposed to Romero’s total command implosion.

      Therefore, Uggla has exactly zero chance of bouncing back, whereas Romero, at least hypothetically, could undergo a significant transformation and return to relevance in some capacity.

      Uggla is also owed significantly more money.

      I’d keep Romero.

      • I wouldnt say Uggla’s age is the main reason he’s struggling. His overall plate discipline has bottomed out ever since his age 30 season, not unlike Kelly Johnson, but the old man power is still there and his overall on base % has always been good up until last year. I wouldnt doubt that being stuck in the K happy club that is the Braves has some part to play. Maybe Seitzer could get him to improve his OBP and tame some of those wild cuts?

        Another plus of Uggla is his health, doesnt get injured too often.

        His last full season was 2012 and was decent enough – 19 HRs, .340 OBP – I’d toss that at the back of the lineup

        I guess my main impetus is the Jays have more use out of a 13 mil plus change 2b then Romero who will just continue to rot in the minors all season long. Whether the Braves can see value in Romero, I dont know. They may think he’s too far gone.

        • he’s losing bat speed and has to cheat to get to an MLB fastball these days, which is why his plate discipline has seemingly eroded. it’s not that he can’t tell balls from strikes anymore or recognize pitch types, it’s just that he’s had to sacrifice plate discipline to have a chance to make contact, which was not a strength of his in the first place.

          i’m sure the power is still in there, but without contact ability, it will never play.

          he is also a liability defensively and on the bases, problems which are not likely to get better.

  22. Drew back to the Red Sox as per Rosenthal. Well played, Mr. Boras.

  23. And this just in.

    Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal ·5 mins
    Sources: #RedSox sign Drew.

    • and shit, that’s a substantial upgrade offensively (over the garbage they were starting at 3B) and defensively (since Drew > Bogaerts at SS and Bogaerts > Middlebrooks/Holt at 3B).

    • I didn’t think that there was any chance that he was going to sign with the Blue Jays, but that news still sucks.

    • But on the positive he has not been playing since last post season, thus he will need to go to extended spring training or minors and thus I doubt he get brought up before June.

  24. SSS Alert:

    Moises Sierra Slash line in 41 PA’s:


    • and still providing negative value i assume

      • AA doesn’t know what he is doing first the not signing drew and giving up on a better player than pillar, dumb decision all around

        • Pillar has played like 1/3rd of MLB games as Sierra. Pillar is also better defensively, which is exactly what the Jays are using him for as a backup OF’er/late game replacement.

          Their slash lines arent that different in their first 50 games played in their career . .

          Pillar – .202/.242/3 HR/13 RBI WAR -0.2 defensive runs saved +2
          Sierra -.223/.274/6 HR/16 RBI WAR -0.9 defensive runs saved -7

        • Pillar is both considerably better than Sierra, and not out of options.

        • Sierra was way worse in his time here, and could barely play the OF. Come on.

    • Sierra was way better offensively than his short stint in the majors with the Jays this year showed, but like Thames, he’s just way too much of a brick in the OF. He also was a shitty baserunner.

      Sierra is capable of slashing a .250/.315 line with medium pop for sure, but he had very little defensive value, so kind of expendable on the OF-loaded Jays. Even as a bench platoon, his value was limited, even more now when you think about how much use the Jays have got of Juan, or even someone like a Tolleson.

      I dont think this is going to be Yan Gomes 2.0 . . . we wont be regretting Sierra down the road

      • I actually think they will…but I dont see him getting better in the outfield at all and he just doesnt fit anywhere on the Jays team.

  25. Yes, barely negative value though.

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