Through 34 games this season, the third baseman was hitting .198 with two home runs and 17 RBIs. His defense has also been questionable, considering he's tallied 22 errors over the past two seasons.
But it's the potential that he displayed in 2010 and 2011 that made him an intriguing option for the Red Sox, who claimed him off waivers and shipped minor league outfielder Jeremias Pineda in exchange. Last season, Valencia slugged 15 home runs and 72 RBIs in 154 games for the Twins. In 84 games the year before, he showed similar promise, drilling seven homers and 40 RBIs with a .311 batting average.
This year, however, Valencia hasn't been nearly as productive and was subsequently demoted to Triple-A Rochester on a few occasions. If he regains form, he could provide depth at third base since Will Middlebrooks is entrenched at the spot in the majors.
But Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony couldn't figure out the onset of the 27-year-old's woes.
"It's hard to tell," Antony said. "I mean, he just wasn't taking good at-bats. I know he was frustrated, sometimes getting behind in the count, it'll snowball on you. It wasn't a matter where we were down on him or anything else, it's just maybe it was a situation where this was a better opportunity for him."
The Red Sox are hoping the change of scenery will rejuvenate Valencia, who was optioned to Pawtucket.
Photo via Flickr/Keith Allison
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