|The Phillies gained roster flexibility and the Reds picked up another utility infield option in a minor trade. Philadelphia sent versatile 33-year-old infielder Wilson Valdez to Cincinnati for Triple-A lefty reliever Jeremy Horst.
The Reds called up Horst from Louisville on May 28 to cover for injuries, but he pitched sparingly during that stint as well as two subsequent callups before being outrighted off the 40-man roster in December. He passed through waivers that time, but the Phillies liked Horst enough to circle back and acquire him for Valdez in a trade that clears space on Philadelphia’s 40-man roster.
Because of his plus range, strong arm and noteworthy speed, Valdez received brief big league trials with the White Sox, Mariners, Padres and Dodgers from 2004-07, but he didn’t hit enough (.531 OPS in 274 PAs) to stick even as a 25th-man defensive replacement. Valdez made his way to Korea and Japan in 2008, but fortune smiled on him upon his return to the States in 2009. He started 23 games at shortstop for the Mets that summer during Jose Reyes’ lost year, then latched on with the Phillies and made 138 starts in 2010-11 while filling in for 30-somethings Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley at shortstop and second base. The Reds will be the 11th different organization for which Valdez has played, but Cincinnati already has noted utility types Miguel Cairo and Paul Janish on its 40-man roster.
|Jeremy Horst, lhp
Born: Oct. 1, 1985 in Cheyenne, Wyo.
Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 220. Bats: L. Throws: L.
School: Armstrong Atlantic State (Ga.).
Career Transactions: Selected by Reds in 21st round of 2007 draft; signed June 13, 2007.
The Reds switched Horst to the bullpen in 2010 because he tended to run out of gas the second time through the order. He sits at 86-88 mph and scrapes 90 out of the pen, but he lacks the knockout breaking ball to profile as a situational reliever. Horst’s crossfire delivery, long stride and quick arm help his fringy changeup and slider play up. Both pitches sit in the low 80s, with the breaking ball lacking power or consistent bite. Pitchability and the ability to retire righthanders, however, could translate into a low-leverage relief role in the big leagues.
|Wilson Valdez, 2b/ss/3b
Age: 33. Bats: R. Remaining Commitment: 1 year, $930,000, then arbitration-eligile for 2013-14 seasons.
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.