For the second straight season, Danny Valencia played in 130 games after averaging 72 from 2012-2015. The Mariners played Valencia primarily at first base, depriving him of the third-base and outfield eligibility he's enjoyed the previous two years. After batting .290 and .287 in 2015 and 2016, Valencia's average plummeted to .256, a result of a drop in contact in tandem with a below-average hard-hit rate. Valencia's down season was punctuated by a terrible September where he slashed just .148/.333/.259 after rosters expanded. He maintained his mid-teens power, but in today's power-happy climate, that's nothing, especially from a first baseman. Valencia played 2017 on a one-year contract, setting himself up to play for his eighth organization since debuting in 2010. There's a chance Valencia picks up position flexibility in-season, but he will begin the season eligible at just first base in most leagues and is at best a corner or utility in single league formats.
Valencia went 1-for-2 with a three-run home run and a walk in Tuesday's 6-3 win over the Athletics. Valencia's 410-foot shot to center in the seventh erased a 3-2 deficit and gave the Mariners a lead they wouldn't relinquish. The 33-year-old hadn't gone deep since Aug. 28, and the three RBI he tallied with Tuesday's round tripper brought his monthly total to a meager four. The lack of run production is part of what has been a miserable September for Valencia, one that's seen him hit just .167 over 32 plate appearances.
Valencia went 2-for-3 with a solo home run, a walk and two runs in Monday's 7-6 loss to the Orioles. Valencia's 419-foot shot to center in the second opened the scoring on the night and was his first round tripper since Aug. 6. The veteran has also reached double-digit RBI for the fourth straight month and retains a solid chance of surpassing his career highs in homers (18) and RBI (72) with over a month left in the season.
Valencia, who went 3-for-5 with a triple, two-run home run and two runs in the first game of a doubleheader Sunday, is projected to platoon with newly acquired, left-handed-hitting Yonder Alonso at first base moving forward, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reports. Although Valencia has steadily improved against right-handed pitching as his career has unfolded, Alonso brings a solid .286 average and .948 OPS -- along with 18 home runs and 40 RBI -- against that handedness this season. Valencia's overall playing time thus projects to take a hit, although the designated hitter spot serves as a way to get both players in the lineup simultaneously on occasion.
Valencia is not in the lineup for Game 2 of Sunday's doubleheader against the Royals, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reports. Valencia will head to the bench as the Mariners take on Jake Junis and the Royals in the second leg of the doubleheader. Danny Espinosa will take over at first base, batting ninth.
Valencia went 2-for-3 with a double, a solo home run, a walk and two runs in Thursday's 6-4 loss to the Royals. Valencia's 12th round tripper of the season had to survive a replay review but was ultimately confirmed. The 32-year-old is off to a hot start in August, hitting .417 over the first three games of the month. The veteran infielder's solo blast also marked the first time he'd gone deep since July 17, and was just his second extra-base hit since that contest.