|Born: October 12, 1969|
Manatí, Puerto Rico
|September 17, 1992, for the Milwaukee Brewers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 20, 2007, for the New York Mets|
|Runs batted in||816|
|Career highlights and awards|
José Antonio Valentín (born October 12, 1969) is a former Major League Baseball infielder. He played for the Milwaukee Brewers (1992–1999), Chicago White Sox (2000–2004), Los Angeles Dodgers (2005), and New York Mets (2006–2007). His son Jesmuel was a 1st round pick by the Dodgers in the 2012 MLB draft.
Valentín was signed on October 12, 1986, by the San Diego Padres as an amateur free agent. However, he was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers on March 26, 1992 with Ricky Bones and Matt Mieske in exchange for Gary Sheffield and Minor League prospect Geoff Kellogg. He made his major league debut with the Brewers on September 17, 1992. On January 12, 2000, and after eight seasons with the Brewers, he was traded with Cal Eldred to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Jaime Navarro and John Snyder. He played five seasons with the White Sox before becoming a free agent on October 29, 2004.
As Valentín got older, however, his range in the field lessened with his foot speed. Therefore, he shifted from a strict shortstop to a player who can handle duties at third base, second base, shortstop and left field. On December 21, 2004, he was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, during spring training, he went down with torn ligaments in his left knee, and ended up with only a .170 batting average in 56 games that season after he returned, serving as a third baseman, left fielder and lefty pinch-hitter. Due to Valentin's struggles, he began to bat strictly left-handed for a time being rather that switch hitting. He would later resume switch hitting later in his career. On October 27 of the same year, the Dodgers granted him free agency.
On December 12, 2005, Valentín signed with the New York Mets hoping to make the team as a utility player off the bench, but rebounded from the previous season to have one of the best seasons of his career. He emerged as one of the most solid players in the line-up, becoming the Mets regular second baseman after they traded away Kazuo Matsui. His consistent hitting played a big part in helping the Mets to the 2006 National League Eastern Division title. Valentín capped off his great regular season by hitting two home runs against the Florida Marlins on September 18, 2006, in the division-clinching game.
On November 14, 2006, Valentin re-signed with the Mets for one year, with an option for 2008. Valentín agreed to switch his uniform number from 18 to 22 for the newly signed Moisés Alou a few days later. On July 20, 2007, Valentín fouled a ball off his right leg, breaking his tibia and ending his season after 51 games and a .241 batting average. He re-signed with the Mets to a minor league contract on January 18, 2008, with an invitation to spring training. With the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs, Valentin told the Mets his season was over on June 21, due to physical and mental wear and tear. The Mets released him shortly thereafter. In February 2009, he re-signed with the Mets to a minor league contract; he was released after not making the team out of Spring training.
Valentín had success as one of the few shortstops with good home run power, averaging 25 homers and 80 RBI over a 162-game season for his career. Although he only has a .243 lifetime batting average (the lowest average among all qualified active players), he has established a .332 lifetime on-base percentage, evidencing his propensity to walk.
In 2004 it was announced that Valentín bought the Santurce Crabbers, one of the most historic professional baseball franchises of the Puerto Rico Baseball League (formerly known as LBPPR). He relocated the team to his native town, and renamed them the Manatí Atenienses. But after a decline in attendance and the restructuring of the league, Valentín moved the team back to Santurce in 2008, therefore launching the return of the Cangrejeros. He joined his home team as their second baseman becoming the only owner-player in the league.
In 2012 Jose became the manager for the Fort Wayne Tin Caps baseball team which is the Class A minor league farm team of the San Diego Padres. He has been recently referred to as "sleepy" because his uniform number 22 looks like two "z's".
After the end of the 2013 season, Jose was promoted to the 1st base coach for the San Diego Padres after bench coach Rick Renteria was hired as manager of the Chicago Cubs and former 1st base coach Dave Roberts became bench coach.