STAT LINE 4 games, 5 IP, 12.60 ERA / 9.96 FIP, 4 K, 1 BB, 1.80 WHIP
The Giants wound up being José Váldez’s fourth organization in nine years and he came up after Johnny Cueto first landed on the disabled list in 2018. That was when there was still hope that Cueto’s and the Giants’ season wasn’t over.
He was never intended to be a frontline reliever, but the team certainly hoped that a 4-pitch pitcher with a 94-95 mph fastball would be useful in 2 inning/swing man stints. I wrote at the time of his call-up:
He’s had very limited success as a professional baseball player and so if we’re seeing much of him over the next week, it’s safe to assume it’s because everything has gone horribly wrong for the Giants.
In conclusion and finally, I think it would be great if Jose Valdez came out of nowhere to, like, claim the closer role, but that’s such an extremely unlikely possibility that instead I’m going to remain perturbed that he got the 40-man spot and not Steven Duggar.
Role on the 2018 team
At the time of his call-up, the Giants were 19-19 finishing their 4-game sweep at the hands of the Phillies in Philadelphia. Valdez pitched the 7th inning of the first game in Pittsburgh and wound up surrendering this 2-run home to Josh Bell:
What’s nice about that is how it was a 95 mph fastball that was hit like it was nothing. And that was sort of Váldez’s issue in his limited time with the Giants — a lot of very hittable pitches. He was supposed to be a blowout game pitcher or when the starter didn’t last very long, and that’s basically how Bruce Bochy used him over those five innings. They just... weren’t quality relief innings. He gave up at least two runs in three of his four appearances.
He was on the roster for 12 days before the Giants put him on the disabled list with an inflamed right elbow. They designated him for assignment as soon as his DL time ended, and he’d wind up re-signing with the River Cats to finish out the Triple-A season. This was every bit the journeyman reliever season for the 27-year old.
Role on the 2019 team
He became a free agent after the season. He’ll very likely sign with another organization as a minor league free agent, depending on if his elbow holds up through the winter.
Final Grade: F
You can see why teams like him, but his stuff and command just haven’t been major league-worthy. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible he turns it all around once he gets paired with the right team and their coaches, but it’s clear that the Giants weren’t a great fit for him.