Valaika agreed to a one-year deal with the Orioles on Wednesday to avoid arbitration, Joe Trezza of MLB.com reports. Valaika had a strong showing during his first season in Baltimore, posting a .277/.315/.475 slash line with eight home runs in 52 games during 2020. The 28-year-old could enter spring training with a chance to earn a larger role with the departure of shortstop Jose Iglesias.
Valaika went 3-for-5 with a solo home run and two additional runs scored in Thursday's 13-1 rout of the Red Sox. He was one of four Baltimore hitters to lace three hits on the night. Valaika has put together a solid first campaign in an O's uniform, hitting .275 with eight homers, 15 RBI and 23 runs in 51 games.
Valaika went 3-for-4 in Wednesday's 9-1 loss to the Red Sox. Valaika hit three singles in the contest, but he was unable to score despite his frequent trips on-base. The versatile 28-year-old has seven homers, 14 RBI and 20 runs scored while clashing .263/.300/.451 in 50 games this season.
Valaika will not start Monday against Atlanta, Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports. Valaika had been in the lineup for eight of the last nine games, though he posted an OPS of just .517 over that stretch. The return of Austin Hays (ribs) could impact his playing time, as he'll start in left field Monday, pushing Ryan Mountcastle to designated hitter and Renato Nunez to first base.
Valaika isn't in the lineup for Game 2 of Friday's doubleheader against the Yankees. Valaika started at first base during Friday's matinee and went 0-for-2 with one strikeout. He'll get a breather for the second game with Chris Davis taking over as the first baseman.