Danny Valencia Traded To Red Sox, Nishioka Recalled
The Minnesota Twins have traded third baseman Danny Valencia to the Boston Red Sox for minor league outfielder Jeremias Pineda. Valencia, who started the year as the Twins everyday third baseman, has spent most of the year in Rochester but was recalled two weeks ago when Trevor Plouffe was injured. He was hitting .198 with a 522 OPS and also struggled in AAA, hitting .250 with a 688 OPS.
Replacing Valencia on the 25-man roster will be Tsuyoshi Nishioka.
The player the Twins acquired, Jermias Pineda, is atypical in several ways. He is dominating the Gulf Coast League (GCL), which is a rookie league (below A ball) with a .421 batting average and a 981 OPS. He doesn't have any home runs, and is listed as 5' 11" and 175 pounds, so he profiles as more of a speedster than a slugger.
He sticks out in the GCL for another reason too: he is 21 years old, which is very old for that league, so one would expect him to shine against 18 and 19-year-olds. He is playing in the GCL because he signed in March of 2011 as a 20-year-old, playing the Dominican Summer League for most of last year.
So the Twins traded for a late-blooming speedster who is doing what he should be doing in rookie ball - dominating younger players. At this point, it's hard to determine the path he will take, or even what grade of prospect he seems to be. But this is reminiscent of previous trades Terry Ryan had made in which he grabbed Jason Bartlett and Alexi Casilla while they were still low minor leaguers and not highly ranked prospects.
Nishioka's overall play in Rochester - hitting .245 with a .309 on-base percentage - still has not been impressive for the free agent the Twins signed to a 3-year deal before last year. However, for the last month, those numbers have been trending up and there was some speculation that he might be ready to rejoin the Twins soon. My best guess is he will play utility infielder for the Twins until Plouffe returns.
For more on Pineda, stop by the Tenth Inning Stretch for a mini-scouting report. You can also join the Twins Daily thread on the trade. Or talk about the return of Nishi with the community.