Valdez May Have Worked Himself Onto a Job

Wilson Valdez's name can be found on the Dodger 40-man roster once more and that comes as a mild surprise to Dodger officials who have been prepared to say goodbye to him on more than occasion.

He was first obtained by the Dodgers as a last-minute replacement as the 2006 season opened, anyway. They had decided to move Joel Guzman from shortstop to the outfield and had nobody they felt could adequately fill the vacancy at short for Las Vegas. So, they traded for Valdez who was with Kansas City at the time.

The thinking was that he well just be around for one season but he was good in the field so would do for that stretch. As matters turned out he was better than expected. What's more, baseball changed it's rules and gave teams one more year to develop players so the younger hopefuls whom they had been expecting to call up didn't have to be , leaving some roster vacancies for some people that otherwise would have been passed over.

Valdez was one that they promoted. Probably go to spring training and that would be that for he didn't seem to have any real chance of making the team. He did play quite well but that doesn't guarantee anybody a job; just ask James Loney about that so normally Valdez would have been pushed out the door.

Things weren't normal, howsoever. Rafael Furcal had badly injured his ankle in a collision with Jason repko so they needed another infielder while he recovered. Thus, Valdez got to hang around awhile longer.

When Furcal came back, though, Wilson was going to be cut even though he had used up his options with other organizations. They tried to see what they might get in a trade but no one was offering anything so they placed him on waivers, thinking he'd probably be claimed.

But no one did so he was sent to Vegas again. In the meantime they had picked up still another veteran replacement for short, Tomas Perez but he hadn't really worked out so they released him and installed Valdez there once more. He played his usual solid defense which came as no great shock but his hitting was better than ever. What's more, he was one of the few players on the team who could steal a base every now and again.

As the season wore on, they finally felt that Chin-lung Hu was more than ready to tackle over in Vegas so brought him up from Jacksonville. Now, he's very much a genuine prospect so he had to play. However, Wilson was doing so much with the bat they wanted him in the lineup, too, so they stashed him in the outfield. And, hey, he could handle himself quote nicely out there, too.

When the minor league season ended, there was Valdez not only still around but batting a lusty .342 which was good enough to lead the whole organization. So, they brought him up for another trial.

The thing is, this time he might just make the team fulltime. Ramon Martinez's contract has expired, he didn't hit at all and is older- 35 to Wilson's 29. Why pay him a couple of million when Wilson can do everything he can plus play a couple of positions more for a lot lot less money?

Thus is unlikely that Martinez will be rehired which means Valdez may well have a utilityman's job next spring.

Either that or be a contestant on "Survivor "

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