Danny Valencia’s career resume paints him as a baseball nomad. The Mariners will be his seventh club as he enters his eighth big-league season. All in the American League.
"It’s one of those things," he said. "Everybody wants to play for one team for their whole career. But the fact of the matter is, the longer you play, the more teams you’re going to play for.
"Very few guys get to play with one team for their whole career."
Even so, very few move around as much as Valencia, whom the Mariners acquired Nov. 12 from American League West-rival Oakland in a trade for minor-league pitcher Paul Blackburn.
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"We had a checklist," general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "We wanted a right-handed bat that was going to balance out (Dan) Vogelbach at first base and give us some corner utility, particularly in the outfield corners.
"I think Danny Valencia does that."
It amounts to a win-now move by the Mariners, who surrendered a legitimate pitching prospect for the Athletics’ rebuilding plan. Valencia, 32, will be a free agent after this season.
Or maybe this becomes home.
Manager Scott Servais punctuated an off-season meeting with Valencia by asking him to join the club’s veteran leadership group.
A year ago, the group consisted of Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager and Felix Hernandez. It met regularly with Servais to address clubhouse issues and concerns and serve as a conduit to other players.
"I thought that was really nice of him," Valencia said. "I was completely onboard with that. I think it’s amazing. It was great for him to come down and have dinner with me in my hometown. I thought that was great.
"I thought it was great for (hitting coach) Edgar Martinez to come and work with me in the off-season. So far, it’s been first class. I’m just really excited to get to spring training and play hard for these guys."
Valencia’s role this season is still largely to be determined beyond, at least initially, serving as the right-handed portion of a first-base platoon with Vogelbach. A year ago, Dae-Ho Lee had a similar role and finished with just 292 at-bats.
That could change.
Club officials want to see Vogelbach develop into an everyday player and serve as a lineup cornerstone for the next several years. But they also recognize Vogelbach could flop, which would turn Valencia into the full-time first baseman.
Valencia batted .287 last season with 17 homers and 51 RBIs in 130 games for the Athletics. He also, for a second straight year, showed an ability to hit right-handers as well as lefties. In short, he doesn’t need to be platooned.
"Everybody wants to be in the lineup," he said. "I think the past couple of years I’ve shown that I can play every day. That’s the goal. I work very hard in the off-season to put myself in a position to be out there every day."
Club officials point to Valencia drawing occasional duty at third base or as the designated hitter when Seager or Cruz require a break. But…come on: Barring injuries, neither Seager nor Cruz figure to get much time off.
Valencia proved to be a capable corner outfielder over the last two years, but playing time there could hinge on rookie Mitch Haniger failing to meet expectations in right field.
Newcomer Jarrod Dyson might be limited to platoon duty in left field, but he’s a left-handed hitter like Vogelbach. Valencia can only play one position at a time.
Servais said it will work itself out.
"Danny is a very important player for us, no doubt, because of the right-handed bat," he said. "We saw so many left-handers last year with Cano and Seager and how our line-up was put together…It’s a good fit."
Wherever he plays, Valencia promises to be ready.
"It like a switch-hitter would have to work just as much left-handed as right-handed," he said. "I’m going to take ground balls at first. I’m going to take ground balls at third. I’m going to take fly balls in right. Every single day.
"I’m just going to be ready to play wherever they need me to go. I did it last year in Oakland, and I enjoyed it. I really did. It was fun, and it was challenging. I’m all for it."
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners