|The Red Sox added third-base depth in the form of 27-year-old Danny Valencia, whom they acquired from the Twins for center fielder Jeremias Pineda, a 21-year-old playing in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.
Red Sox rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks belted nine homers with a .949 OPS in his first 41 big league games, but the 23-year-old has batted .248/.259/.394 with four homers in 112 plate appearances since June 25, the day after Boston traded Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox. The 33-year-old Youkilis has thrived with his new club (138 OPS+), while Middlebrooks missed time in July with a balky hamstring and has generally regressed after a hot start.
|Jeremias Pineda, cf
Age: 21. Born: Nov 16, 1990 in Hormigo, Dominican Republic.
Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 175.
Bats: B. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Red Sox, Oct. 20, 2010.
Though old for the GCL at age 21, Pineda at least distinguished himself in his time there, leading the circuit in average (.421), hits (56), on-base percentage (.447) and slugging (.534). He tied for second with 14 steals (in 21 attempts) at the time of the trade. Pineda tried out for teams as a righthanded pitcher and outfielder before signing with Boston, for whom he never pitched, but then nor did he hit much during his 2011 pro debut (.576 OPS, 41 whiffs in 34 games). The Twins see a lot of Red Sox minor leaguers because they have the same Fort Myers, Fla., home base as Boston, and Minnesota believes Pineda’s body and skills have developed significantly in the past year. He switch-hits, shows consistent plus running times to first base and has hit with more authority this season thank to enhanced physicality. Pineda may be a long shot, but he intrigues the Twins.
|Red Sox Acquire|
|Danny Valencia, 3b
Age: 27. Bats: R. Contract Terms: Signed one-year, $515,000 deal for 2012 season.
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
Remaining Commitment: Valencia could be under club control for either the next four or five seasons, depending on how much big league time he accrues the rest of this season. He will qualify for arbitration—at the earliest—following the 2013 campaign.
Impact On Red Sox Depth Chart: The Red Sox optioned Valencia to Triple-A Pawtucket after acquiring him (he has one option left after this season), but if he can reverse his season-long slump then he could supplant Middlebrooks—if the rookie doesn’t himself reverse course—as the regular at third base later this summer. That’s a big if, however, given Valencia’s recent slide into irrelevancy. He batted just .238/.280/.370 (78 OPS+) in 740 plate appearances for the Twins during the past two seasons after making the BA all-rookie team in 2010.