Oakland A’s Give Cesar Valdez a Shot by Dylan Svoboda December 3, 2016 On November 19, the Oakland A’s signed Cesar Valdez to a minor-league contract. His last appearance in the major leagues was way back in 2010 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Almost seven years ago. Since then, Valdez has been jumping from organization to organization, toiling as a journeyman reliever/starter in Triple-A. Not even a tweet by the organization is needed for these types of transactions. Just a normal organizational move. But this is not just any organizational move. A closer look at Valdez’ player page shows there is much more going on here than just adding organizational depth. It needs to be noted that Valdez is already heading into his age-32 season. Whatever value the A’s pull out of him needs to be extracted quickly because father time is right on his tail. The A’s don’t expect him to be a long-term asset. They probably don’t really even expect him to make it the big leagues. His high-level numbers over the last two years suggest he should be a major-leaguer again. In 2016, Valdez posted a 3.24 FIP in the offense-happy Pacific Coast League playing for the Astros’ Triple-A affiliate, good for third-best in the league. One could look at this and say ‘okay, so what, he had a good 140 innings in the minor leagues.’ What jumps out of the page is how Valdez was even better pitching in the Mexican League in 2015, another offense-happy environment. He led the league in FIP and it really was not even close. He had the second highest K/9 and on top of it all he led the league in innings. He absolutely dominated the Mexican League and followed that up with another showing of dominance in the PCL. Valdez’ walks per nine fell from 1.57 in 2015 to 0.85 in 2016. That was the lowest BB/9 in the PCL by almost one whole walk. There was reason to doubt Valdez following his 2015 season. It was dominant, but it also could be seen as fluky. He posted an outstanding 9.02/1.57/0.50 line. One could ask how he gave up so few home runs, and maybe that walk rate was bound to shoot up against stiffer competition. Valdez earns credibility with his 2016 campaign. His strikeout rate dipped a bit, although it was still strong, but his walk rate almost halved and he kept that outstanding home-run rate. He sustained most of his gains even against more advanced competition. Remember the name Cesar Valdez. He will be up at some point with the Oakland A’s. There is no way to predict outcomes such as Corey Kluber and Junior Guerra but Mr. Valdez is as good a bet as any to follow in their footsteps.