Royals Acquire Danny Valencia in Exchange for David Lough

Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals have announced that they have traded David Lough to the Orioles in exchange for third baseman Danny Valencia. Valencia hit .304/.335/.553 with 8 home runs in 170 plate appearances for Baltimore last season.

Lough was likely on his way out of town eventually, since the team had acquired Norichika Aoki, and he was realistically behind the other 4th outfielder options in Jarrod Dyson and Justin Maxwell. Lough did have a very strong rookie campaign, posting 2.4 fWAR in just 335 plate appearances, largely due to very good defense in the outfield. His .316 wOBA was probably unsustainable, but a team can do much worse for their 4th outfielder.

As for Valencia, he is out of options, which makes his acquisition an interesting one. He’ll be a part of the big league roster, and will provide insurance for Mike Moustakas at third base, with the potential to be a true platoon partner. In his career, Valencia has an .879 OPS against left-handed pitching, compared to just a .629 OPS against righties. He doesn’t walk much, but an ISO of .183 against lefties is a valuable asset. Defensively, Valencia is not very good, with a career DRS of -11, so if Moustakas were to go down for an extended period of time, the pitching staff may not be terribly fond of having Valencia’s glove at the hot corner. Still, he should provide some right-handed pop off the bench, which is a terrific thing to have.

Bringing Valencia into the fold also all but assures that the team will only carry 4 outfielders on Opening Day, which means either Dyson or Maxwell will be on their way out. While I said on Monday that Maxwell and his power needed to have a roster spot, Valencia’s presence allows the team to consider keeping Dyson instead, since Valencia’s right-handed bat could be used in late innings instead of Maxwell’s. I’m not saying the Royals will definitely trade Maxwell now, but I do think they’d prefer Dyson at this point, based on the current roster construction.

Regarding his contract status, Valencia won’t be arbitration-eligible until after next season, and won’t be a free agent until after the 2017 season. Having a cheap, controllable player with some upside as a platoon bat is good for the organization, and allows them to hide Moose’s bat if he doesn’t come around against left-handed pitching.

Topics: Danny Valencia, David Lough, Kansas City Royals

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  • jimfetterolf

    That’s about my take. I think the Royals keep Maxwell and now unload Ciriaco, using Bonifacio as 5th OF and designated base stealer. With Valencia, sure looks like a platoon brewing.

    • moretrouble

      Another option is keep Bonifacio and Dyson. Let Maxwell go. Dyson has gotten extended PT the last couple of years due to Cain going down.

      • jimfetterolf

        Tough choice but I think the Royals keep the right handed power bat of Maxwell. Aoki can play center, so Cain goes down Maxwell goes to right. I would have kept Lough and traded Aoki.

  • Ed Connealy

    Like this….Moose better bring it this spring. Trading one of our 4th outfielders and a middle arm is still very possible

    • jimfetterolf

      Still five OFs, so one of Maxwell or Dyson is pretty much required.

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  • KCMOWHOA

    It sucks that they didn’t think much of Lough. He’s not a star player, but he had a good 2013 campaign and deserves a place on an MLB roster. I’m getting a little confused about some of the moves Moore is making though. If he expects Moose to struggle again (which this move is insurance for), then why didn’t he make an effort to get a starting 3rd baseman in the offseason? Valencia isn’t much more than a pinch hitter or a bench option on off days.

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