You're going in, whatever your name is.....

Your Toronto Blue Jays acquired RHP Merkin Valdez AKA Manny Mateo from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for an undisclosed amount of cash.  He got caught up in the fake Dominican birth certificate scam when he was a prospect but only shaved 9 months off his real birth date.....why bother?

Merkin fills the final spot on the 40 man roster.  He currently has 2.033 years of major league service time and is salary arbitration eligible in 2011.  Last season he was under contract for $401K.  

Courtesy of Fan Graphs: As Buster Posey will probably tell you in private, there are not a lot of rookies that get a fair shake in San Francisco. Valdez was one of a few rookies that saw “significant” playing time in 2009. The right-handed reliever allowed 57 hits in 49.1 innings of work and posted a walk rate of 5.11 BB/9 and a strikeout rate of 6.93 K/9. A former hard-throwing top prospect, Valdez has had injury problems and his lack of minor-league options meant that San Francisco had to hold on to him all year even though he struggled. With a fastball that sits around 95 mph, Valdez is an intriguing commodity but he needs to improve his secondary pitches (He threw the heater more than 80% of the time).

In fact it was 80.3 percent of the time.  He mixed in a slider 13.4 percent and a splitter 6.2 percent.  I wonder what the other .1 percent was?  Could it have been the gyro ball?  Hat tip to Remember '51 for the data.

The spin courtesy of Boy Wonder: 
"Valdez has a power arm with a fastball that can reach up to 98 mph," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "He's out of options, so we're taking a chance on a reliever with a good arm."

Speaking of options, a big thank you to Jordian Bastian for giving us the list of pitchers who are currently out of them. 
  • Scott Downs
  • Shawn Camp
  • The Wolverine
  • Merkin Valdez


In an earlier post I looked into the make up of the bullpen.  At that time I concluded that we have two spots open.  I also concluded that they would go to the guy who is out of options and the Rule 5 guy.  I stand by that.  I think this Merkin fellow and ZZ will get the longest looks in camp.  If either of them show the brain trust any signs that they can get major league hitters out, then they get the jobs.  That means that everybody else vying for those open spots is going to have to show something extra special or risk being caught in the numbers game. 
  • Jeremy Accardo
  • Josh Roenicke
  • Casey Janssen
  • Dirk Hayhurst
If I was anyone of these guys, I would be pissed right now.  It basically doesn't matter how good they pitch in camp.  Somebody better have a microphone in front of Accardo after he inevitably gets told he is going back to Vegas for some more seasoning.  


  1. In many ways, I can't blame you guys too much for this pickup. As much crap as I gave him, I do wish things worked out for him. However, injuries killed his progression, and after not doing much in an extended shot last season, the Giants had to cut him loose. If the guy ever figures out how to pitch with an 0-2 count (seriously this guy throws the most hittable pitches on 0-2 counts...it drove Giants fans insane!) than he could be a decent pitcher. The guy's fastball is electric.

    The only problem is he'll be 29. At that age, you wonder if he can develop much more.

  2. Kevin,
    Rock solid. Thanks for the heads up on the 0-2.
    Between Merkin and Bocock we have been picking up a lot of your scraps lately.