Orioles cut Valaika after claiming utilityman Jorge Mateo on waivers from San Diego - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles cut Valaika after claiming utilityman Jorge Mateo on waivers from San Diego

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

In 2020’s shortened 60-game season Pat Valaika was a valuable member of the Orioles. With Trey Mancini out because of color cancer and injuries to shortstop José Iglesias, Valaika was called on to fill in at each of the four infield positions. He hit .277 in 52 games with eight home runs and 16 RBIs.

This year, it’s been a different story. Valaika has hit just .192 with four home runs and 21 RBIs. On Thursday, the Orioles designated the 28-year-old for assignment after they claimed infielder/outfielder Jorge Mateo on waivers from San Diego.

Mateo, a 26-year-old right-handed hitter, hit .207 with two home runs and six RBIs in 57 games with the Padres.

He has played all three outfield positions, and second base, shortstop and third. He hasn’t committed an error in 56 chances in 43 games in 2020 and 2021.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. TxBirdFan

    August 5, 2021 at 4:59 pm

    Moves like this really puzzle me. We’re cutting a player batting .192 who has had some past success as an Oriole, and picking up a player batting .207 with no experience as an Oriole. Both are utility players who can man several positions. Perhaps Mateo has a lower financial commitment or Valaika wasn’t a good teammate. Puzzling…

    • ptjhu

      August 5, 2021 at 6:40 pm

      Dammit, TxBirdFan! You beat me to the reply: will signing a .207 hitter really improve the team?

    • Icterus fan

      August 5, 2021 at 10:48 pm

      No, but this caliber player is all we can apparently afford/attract.

    • NormOs

      August 6, 2021 at 11:27 am

      If Cutting Valaika is a “good move”, here are a few more “good moves” this team can make. Severino .239 BA (and not much of a catcher). Franco .213 BA Gutierez 209 BA. Stewart 200 BA (and a poor OF) McKenna 191 BA (but a fine outfielder) Wynns 156 BA (but a fine catcher). So we should be able to pick up some more “waiver wire” pieces by getting rid of this bunch of NON MLB hitters. AND THE ENTIRE BULLPEN

      • Rich Dubroff

        August 6, 2021 at 7:21 pm

        Norm, Gutierrez was sent down to Norfolk on July 22.

  2. irishhen

    August 5, 2021 at 5:02 pm

    Liked Valaika, hope this guy is good & he is 2 yrs younger.

    • Buzz1979

      August 5, 2021 at 5:42 pm

      Pat the bat! You have not made Doug DeCinces number proud!

  3. Mikepete73

    August 5, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    would rather have Jahmai jones up.

  4. Bman

    August 5, 2021 at 5:27 pm

    It’s all about catching lightning in a bottle. The potential. He was an elite top talent prospect. Try and see if they can develop him. Worth a shot. Valaika was not the future.

  5. Buzz1979

    August 5, 2021 at 5:45 pm

    This looks like a DDDD move! Former first round pick, just like Lou Montanez and Scott Moore!

    • Winchester

      August 5, 2021 at 10:20 pm

      And Tim Beckham! Ugh

  6. Puyerunner

    August 5, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    Most of his appearances are in the outfield. Metrics show him average or a tad below defensively. Was a top prospect when drafted. We’ll see. He’ll get more playing time with us than the Padres.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 5, 2021 at 7:08 pm

      Mateo was never drafted. He signed with the Yankees as an international free agent in 2012.

    • Puyerunner

      August 5, 2021 at 7:24 pm

      You’re right. I read that wrong — thanks.

  7. Bman

    August 5, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    Roll the dice! Worth a shot.

    • willmiranda

      August 6, 2021 at 10:04 am

      Excellent summary of The Plan. After all, it works with scratch tickets.

  8. Orial

    August 5, 2021 at 6:32 pm

    First off in a year where BA’s are way down a .207 BA as compared to a .192 BA is a meaningless argument. This Yankee series has revealed that the O’s need players that know their position as compared to players that play their position. How many times have we seen the IFers and OFers close in on pop-ups only to stare each other down as the ball drops. Maybe(and I mean maybe)an IFer like Mateo is that type of player because Valaika certainly is not. The O’s need “Alpha” corner OFers and quick thinking IFers to start executing these plays. Hyde and Elias have just seen witnessed it and it was time to put their foot down. Valaikas’s been around so long that he’d become a fixture. For that it’s kinda sad to see him go. But it’s time for “ballplayers” not “position players”. Now all they have to do address this timid approach in RF and LF.

    • Icterus fan

      August 5, 2021 at 10:14 pm

      All secondary band aid approaches aside, the Orioles need to spend money. And they ain’t cuz nobody good wants to play here.
      Next subject?

    • Winchester

      August 5, 2021 at 10:22 pm

      I.e. get rid of DJ Stewart!!

    • Bhoffman1

      August 6, 2021 at 8:25 am

      If that’s true why is DJ Stewart still on this team . He’s a miss pop up highlight machine

  9. OsfansinWV

    August 5, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    Six of one… half dozen of the other!!!

  10. BenSch

    August 5, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    Shucks, I liked PV.

  11. Boog Robinson Robinson

    August 5, 2021 at 9:37 pm

    Yankees get Rizzo & Gallo ….

    The Orioles pick up who?

    Go Cowboys!

    • OhMy!

      August 5, 2021 at 9:49 pm

      The Os definitely should have parted with some prospects before the trade deadline to pick up some expensive talent for their playoff push the 2nd half of the season. I totally see your point BRR

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 5, 2021 at 10:40 pm

        Hey Pajama Boy … No I don’t think you see my point at all.

    • Bhoffman1

      August 6, 2021 at 8:27 am

      The Yankees didn’t part ways with any TOP prospects

  12. Icterus fan

    August 5, 2021 at 10:10 pm

    Breaking news: Fire the guy batting .192 and hire the guy batting .207.
    Break! Let’s tackle the AL East!

  13. Buzz1979

    August 5, 2021 at 10:16 pm

    Felix Pie, JR!

    • Icterus fan

      August 5, 2021 at 10:43 pm

      OK Buzzy, I’ll admit it – that made me literally LOL. Worth the admission price!

  14. WorldlyView

    August 5, 2021 at 11:44 pm

    Here’s another view on this latest waiver wire wonder acquisition. If you have an infinite number of monkeys tapping computer keyboards, you eventually will get all of the works of Shakespeare. Similarly, if you secure an infinite number of castoffs and mediocre free agent minor leaguers, you eventually will get a pennant winning team. The O’s have a very long way to go to reach infinity, but Elias has made a promising start.

  15. Phil770

    August 6, 2021 at 9:51 am

    PV will clear waivers and will be outrighted to AAA club. This guy will get a cup of coffee now versus ST. He will be dropped from the 40 man after the season. Not interested in O’s bringing in any OF (No Gallo), 1B (No Rizzo), or catchers. I ‘d accept average defense, compared to what we have seen with Stewart, RM and PV at 2B

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 6, 2021 at 10:51 am

      Phil, my point regarding picking up Rizzo & Gallo vs. Mr.? … is that this is an example of how a major league team operates, and how a not-so-major league team operates.

  16. willmiranda

    August 6, 2021 at 10:36 am

    The Ministry of Fear is active again. For all you Valaikas –and to us you’re all Valaikas– there’s a Mateo waiting out there, and we’ll find him. And we’ll pitch a sentimental story to the media about an aging “prospect” who is getting his last shot at his dream in The Show. We’ll trot him onstage and offstage, and then back to oblivion. This should entertain the peons and convince them we’re doing something as the team slides below thirty games under .500 with lots more to go. What we’re really doing is keeping the players insecure and unsettled, with no interest in morale or chemistry, much less routine and consistency. In fact, we prefer players with no set position so that instead of having two or three compete at each position in spring training and settling in for the year, we have a dozen or more competing endlessly for eight positions. All the while reminding fans and media that it doesn’t really matter because none of these guys is going to be around when it “matters.” I’m not a wannabe GM, just a wannabe fan who can endure losing but not a classless operation that treats people poorly. Poor performances are frustrating, but cynical meanness is intolerable.

    • WorldlyView

      August 6, 2021 at 4:00 pm

      I would add ineptitude, indifference, shortsightedness and a determination not to spend money to “cynical meanness.” It is unclear to me how to apportion criticism between ownership and management.

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