Apr 4, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals second baseman Danny Valencia (19) takes batting practice before the game against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Time to Stop the Danny Valencia as a Second Baseman Experiment


In theory, the Kansas City Royals decision to designate Pedro Ciriaco for assignment would not have mattered. The Royals felt that they were better off having a traditional seven man bullpen, and the thought was that either Danny Valencia or Mike Moustakas would be able to fill in if needed. After all, Alcides Escobar has played in at least 155 games in each of the last three seasons, and Omar Infante had only dealt with injuries once in the past four years, the Royals may have felt that there was a better use for that roster spot.

Feb 24, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals infielder Danny Valencia poses for a portrait during photo day at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Naturally, just two days after designating Ciriaco for assignment, disaster struck in the form of a Heath Bell fastball hitting Infante in the jaw. Fortunately for the Royals and Infante, he managed to escape with a sprained jaw and a head injury that was not a concussion. In fact, it may be possible that Infante will not need to spend time on the disabled list.

Yet, that injury leaves the Royals in a difficult spot. Valencia finished the game at second base on Monday, and his defensive limitations at the position were apparent in his time there. Although Valencia only played at second for two innings, he threw away a potential double play ball on the turn at second. Fortunately for the Royals, the ball bounced right back to Eric Hosmer at first, keeping the runner from advancing another base.

That lack of defensive ability reared it’s ugly head once again last night. Facing Greg Holland with two outs and a runner on second, James Loney hit a pitch to the right side that Danny Valencia, with his lack of range in the middle of the diamond, could not get to. An actual middle infielder, on the other hand, probably makes that play and the Royals get out of the inning. Instead, that proved to be the game winning hit, and the Royals were saddled with a loss that they may not have had otherwise.

Carrying a backup middle infielder may not have been as important to Ned Yost and the front office as holding on to players that they favor, but baseball is not a game where emotional roster decisions take precedence. The Royals, for the first time in seemingly ages, expect to make the playoffs. Doing so requires being able to have the best 25 players to help a team win, not to hold on to players just because they may have hit a grand slam once or because they are out of options. A team that truly has playoff aspirations should not be trotting Valencia, a player who never played at second base in his professional career before Monday, as their starting second baseman at any point in time.

This is not to say that Valencia does not have a role on the Royals. He does. However, that role should be in a platoon with Moustakas at third base, giving the Royals their best chance to get offense from that position. Valencia should not, unless there is a dire emergency, be playing in the middle of the Royals infield.

The Royals refusal to do something that virtually every other team in baseball history has done, carry a backup middle infielder, cost them a game last night. Instead, a team that prides itself upon it’s stellar defense has Danny Valencia playing second base. This could get a lot uglier before it gets any better.

Tags: Danny Valencia Kansas City Royals

  • Justin Jay

    I would like to thank Valencia’s lack of range for helping to contribute to Chris Archer victory! Thanks DV

    • jimfetterolf

      Chris Archer didn’t win.

      • Justin Jay

        Wait… say what? Seriously? I thought… DAMN YOU YAHOO! I had 2 wins reduced to 1!

    • Dave Hill

      Indeed. He pitched fairly well, but got a no decision.

    • Larry Devore

      Please KC left the bases juiced how many times. couldn’t drive anyone in, that contributed to Tampa’s victory. KC is notorious for leaving men on base. They don’t have that killer instinct.

      • Justin Jay

        As a Blue Jays fan, I can relate to this problem KC has.

  • jimfetterolf

    Two interesting memes from last night’s game, one that Valencia’s lack of range allowed the single through, the other that Sal Perez got lazy on the ball in the dirt. Lee disagrees with both, but I would note that Johnny Giavotella didn’t play in Omaha last night, so may be packed in case Royals decide to DL Infante.

    • Justin Jay

      #FreeGiavotella Start the trend!

      • jimfetterolf

        Gio’s been hitting well, haven’t heard that he’s quite a disaster with the glove, and he’s been gettging time at 3rd, so maybe time for another chance.

    • Dave Hill

      Having watched the replay several times, I think that the Royals were victimized by Valencia being a corner infielder. He seemed to be a step or two off in range on that play.

      Hopefully Gio gets a call up. The Royals need someone to back up in the middle of the diamond if need be.

  • jimfetterolf

    Star has Johnny Giavotella recalled and Louis Coleman activated. Brooks and Joseph optioned to Omaha, going with a six man ‘pen.

    • Dave Hill

      Would love to see Gio come out on fire for the Royals today.

      • jimfetterolf

        Just bear in mind that Gio is known for a bad first step and limited range.

        • Dave Hill

          That may be true, but I have a lot more confidence in him playing the position than I do Valencia.

          • jimfetterolf

            One thing, if a hitter puts a ball in a hole it usually means the pitcher missed a spot. Infielders are set for a pitch in a location.

            As for Gio, been watching him for years and, unfortunately for a little guy, he’s slow, not limber, and has short arms. I think the driver on his recall is the fact that he’s hitting well and looked like he had fixed some holes in spring training. What will probably decide how long he stays will be his hitting and the innings generated by the SPs. If they can consistently get six or seven innings, a six man ‘pen is possible. If not, then it will be Gio’s bat that decides whether he goes down or Valencia is released, as Gio can play 3rd and probably no worse than Valencia. It’s all on Johnny, perform and stay.

      • Larry Devore

        would like to see it happen also, but track record say’s no

  • Michael Lizalde

    Leaving 38 people on base last night didn’t help either.

  • moretrouble

    I couldn’t agree more, Dave. KC has a real roster problem carrying a full time DH, pinch runner/OFer, a platoon at 3B, and a fifth outfielder. Their solution hasn’t worked — Valencia cost them a game, Dyson got himself thrown out at 2B on a steal and Maxwell hasn’t had enough AB’s to warrant him even being on the roster. Plus, they’re going light on the bullpen simply due to having two off days a week during parts of this month — that won’t work once the season gets going, either.

  • Larry Devore

    bigger concern is Moose. da man has a .038 BA. I thought they brought in Valencia to spell Moose. They also need someone to spell Valencia, he’s not getting it done either.