Sunday, November 23, 2014
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With depth, Valdez becomes expendable

That Wilson Valdez started 162 games over the previous two seasons only demonstrated the Phillies' need for a durable backup to an aging infield.

With depth, Valdez becomes expendable

Phillies dealt WIlson Valdez to Cincinnati for Jeremy Horst  because they believe they have enough cheaper options to fill his role. (Tony Tribble/AP)
Phillies dealt WIlson Valdez to Cincinnati for Jeremy Horst because they believe they have enough cheaper options to fill his role. (Tony Tribble/AP)

That Wilson Valdez started 162 games over the previous two seasons only demonstrated the Phillies' need for a durable backup to an aging infield.

But the Phillies dealt Valdez to Cincinnati for lefthander Jeremy Horst on Wednesday because they believe they have enough cheaper options to fill that role.

"We decided we were comfortable with the guys we had," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said by phone. "At the same time he had value for us. He served a pretty valuable role for us. But generally, we felt like we had coverage in that area."

That coverage will start with Michael Martinez, who appeared in 88 games last season and hit .196. Amaro mentioned Freddy Galvis, a top infield prospect, as someone who could ultimately provide depth. And the team has signed Pete Orr, Kevin Frandsen and Hector Luna to minor-league deals.

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All of them are cheaper than Valdez, who signed a one-year, $930,000 deal earlier this month.

Amaro said he expects Galvis to play every day at triple-A Lehigh Valley to begin the season. But now that Jimmy Rollins is under contract through at least 2014 and Chase Utley is at second through 2013, Galvis' current path to the majors is in a reserve role (barring injury). 

"Once we signed Jimmy, we felt like we have three shortstop options in Martinez, Galvis and Valdez," Amaro said. "So we felt OK and comfortable enough to go ahead an move Valdez."

Valdez will forever be remembered in Phillies' lore for being the winning pitcher in the 19-inning game against Cincinnati. He was the first player to start a game in the field and win it as pitcher since Babe Ruth in 1921.

Amaro said Horst will be invited to camp as a non-roster player and compete for a job as a lefthander in the bullpen. In 12 games with Cincinnati, the 26-year-old posted a 2.93 ERA. Lefties had a .988 OPS against him in 22 plate appearances.

"Our reports on him is the guy had a chance to get lefties out," Amaro said, "and we'll throw him in the mix."

That mix includes Dontrelle Willis, who is on a non-guaranteed deal, Joe Savery, Jake Diekman and Raul Valdes. 


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Matt Gelb Inquirer Staff Writer
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