If you're anything like me, you've been watching Ryan Flaherty's performance in the plate this season and wondering what he is doing on the major league roster. Unlike last season, when he had to remain on the 25-man roster by virtue of his being a Rule 5 pick, this year, he could be optioned whenever, because the team will not lose control of him. As the games mounted and the .133/.228/.233 slash line persisted, this became more of a mystery.
Enough was finally enough. After Saturday's loss, Flaherty was optioned to AAA Norfolk. Thanks for that playoff home run last year, Ryan, but we're going in a different direction for a while.
The beat reporter crew notes that Danny Valencia looks like the choice to come up to replace Flaherty on the roster. He was held out of Norfolk's lineup tonight and is already on the 40-man roster. Not that minor league statistics tell us everything, but Valencia is batting to the tune of a .939 OPS for Norfolk. He has only ever played third base in his major league career, and as a righty, he hits better against lefties than against righties. Is he just another Steve Pearce? Does the team need another Steve Pearce? Apparently, Dan Duquette thinks they do, at least more than they need a Flaherty.
Alexi Casilla and Yamaico Navarro seem to have the second base/backup middle infielder spots covered between the two of them. Valencia could be a bench bat and DH type, or maybe they won't even call up Valencia and they'll call up someone else entirely.
Valencia has batted .257/.297/.389 in a three-year big league career spanning just over a thousand plate appearances. This is precisely why he was available to be acquired for cash from Boston last November. He is not a player anyone will be dying to hold on to. Used in the right spots, he may have some value to the Orioles. Or he could turn out to be a late bloomer, because he was never so successful in his previous AAA stints. Or not, in which case he'll be quickly gone and forgotten.