12/21/2004 12:38 AM ET
Dodgers sign Valentin, Alvarez, Carrara and Saenz
Club also claims southpaw Brooks off waivers from Pittsburgh
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that they have signed free agent infielder José Valentin to a one-year deal, re-signed free agent left-hander Wilson Alvarez to a two-year contract, and agreed to terms with Giovanni Carrara and Olmedo Saenz on one-year deals, according to Dodger Executive Vice President and General Manager, Paul DePodesta. The Dodgers also claimed left handed pitcher Frank Brooks off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
"José has a proven ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark from the left side of the plate and he will complement our lineup well," said DePodesta. "His ability to play six different positions is also something that should prove to be invaluable throughout the course of the season."
Valentin, 35, has averaged more than 27 homers per year for the past five seasons with the Chicago White Sox. Of his 136 homers during that span, 103 have come as a shortstop, ranking him behind only Alex Rodriguez and Miguel Tejada for home runs at that position. He has reached double figures in home runs in each of the past 11 seasons, averaging 20.5 per year since his first full big league campaign with Milwaukee in 1994.
The Puerto Rico native slugged a career-high 30 homers last season in 125 games for Chicago, going deep once every 15.0 at-bats, the sixth-best mark in the American League. Among big league shortstops, only Tejada (34) registered more home runs.
A switch-hitter through his 13-year Major League career, Valentin only batted from the left-side last season and hit 24 of his home runs against right-handed pitchers. Of his 226 career homers, 207 have come off right-handers. Primarily a shortstop throughout his career, Valentin has appeared in 151 games at third base, including 83 games in 2002.
Valentin has also been honored as the White Sox nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award in each of the past four seasons, a testament to his community involvement. Prior to the 2004 season, he founded the José Valentin Foundation, which raises funds for low-income children with special health needs.
Alvarez, 34, has posted a 101-88 record and 3.94 ERA in parts of 13 Major League seasons with the Rangers, White Sox, Giants, Devil Rays and Dodgers. He has spent the past two seasons with Los Angeles, where he has logged a 13-8 mark and 3.30 ERA in 61 games, including 27 starts.
"Wilson has been an invaluable part of the Dodgers for the last two years, providing stability and flexibility to the pitching staff as both a reliever and a starter," said DePodesta.
The all-time winningest pitcher from Venezuela has allowed one run or less in 14 of his 27 starts with the Dodgers, posting a 12-7 record and 3.86 ERA in those outings. In 2004, Alvarez compiled a 7-6 record and 4.03 ERA in 120.2 innings.
Alvarez is one of 27 active big league pitchers and six left-handers with a career ERA under 4.00 and more than 1,000 innings pitched.
Carrara, 36, compiled a 5-2 record with a pair of saves and a 2.18 ERA over 53.2 innings in 42 appearances after the Dodgers purchased his contract from Triple-A Las Vegas on July 1, 2004. He tossed a Dodger season-high 18.2 scoreless innings between July 27 and Aug. 23 over 11 outings. In his three months with the Dodgers in 2004 he tossed 2.0 or more innings 11 times and allowed just two of 16 inherited runners to score.
The native of Venezuela returned to the Dodgers in 2004 for his second tour of duty with the club where he pitched for the Dodgers in 2001 and 2002 where he went a combined 12-4 with a 3.22 ERA.
Saenz, 34, entered Spring Training as a non-roster invitee last season but earned a spot on the Opening Day roster and became the club's top right-handed hitter off the bench. He ranked fourth in the National League in RBI off the bench (14) tied for second in pinch-hit homers (3) and fifth in pinch-hits (15). His 13 RBI as a pinch-hitter tied for the fifth-most in a single season in Los Angeles Dodger history.
The Panama native was part of Major League history when he slugged a pinch-hit grand slam on Sept. 8, one night after Robin Ventura had also gone deep off the bench with the bases loaded. It marked the first time in big league history that the feat had been accomplished by the same team in consecutive games.
Brooks, 26, appeared in the Major Leagues for the first time in 2004, making one start and 11 total appearances. His six-year minor league totals include a 41-34 record, 21 saves and a 3.55 ERA in 227 games (63 starts). He made his big league debut on Aug. 27, 2004 vs. St. Louis and threw one scoreless inning, fanning Larry Walker looking for his first big league strikeout.