But exactly one week later, the trade has paid dividends — just not under the ideal circumstances. With Will Middlebrooks likely out for the season with a broken right wrist, the Red Sox can turn to a capable third baseman to man the position.
"What happened to Will is unfortunate," Valencia told reporters in Cleveland. "I feel bad for him. I just want to come in and help the team win, no matter what I can do, whether it be off then bench, starting, whatever it is. It's nice to just be able to get back with a team that's playing for the playoffs."
And the Red Sox are glad they don't have to scramble for alternatives. When Middlebrooks battled a hamstring injury in July, the team was forced to call up designated hitter and first baseman Mauro Gomez to play third base.
At 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, Gomez was clearly far from the prototypical third baseman. The 27-year-old, who was signed by the Rangers in 2003 as a third baseman, hadn't played the position since 2009 in the minors. Gomez struggled defensively and was charged with four errors (one of them as a first baseman).
Valencia made his Red Sox debut Saturday, entering in the eighth inning to play defense.
"I don't really know many people," Valencia said. "But everybody's been really great. It's nice to be able to start over and have a clean slate, and try to help a team win that's right in the middle of things."
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine will likely shift between Valencia, Nick Punto, Pedro Ciriaco and possibly Mike Aviles to fill the void at third base.