What Does Danny Valencia Bring To The Toronto Blue Jays?
The Toronto Blue Jays have made a trade! The Blue Jays have acquired third basemen Danny Valencia from the Kansas City Royals. Valencia has been with the Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles, and until today, the Royals. In exchange for Valencia, the Blue Jays sent catcher Erik Kratz and Australian born starter Liam Hendriks.
Now that the Blue Jays have made a trade, albeit a minor one, it’s time to dissect the deal and show why this deal is actually a great move by GM Alex Anthopolous. First of all, let’s take a look at what the Blue Jays gave up.
Erik Kratz was up and down between Triple A Buffalo Bisons and the Blue Jays. Kratz was the third catcher on the depth chart and was used sparingly in a DH role against left handers. Kratz does have a ton of power but doesn’t and hasn’t really ever hit for a decent average. Kratz is a solid backup catcher who didn’t have a true spot on the team due to Dioner Navarro being the full time catcher and Josh Thole being the personal catcher for R.A Dickey. The Blue Jays won’t miss Kratz’s bat but the defense will be missed. He caught probably the most dominant start by a Blue Jays pitcher in 2014, Drew Hutchison‘s 3 hitter in Arlington against the Texas Rangers.
Liam Hendriks was a depth starter who simply just wasn’t good enough to stick around in the majors. Hendriks won his first start of the season but disturbing fly ball trends caught up to him on his final start as a Blue Jay, against the Cincinnati Reds on June 20th. That happened to be the historic comeback against the Reds but Hendriks was rocked. Ultimately, Hendriks is still only 25 and has dominated in AAA but likely will never amount to anything other than just a fifth starter.
Now, Danny Valencia. Valencia has 1380 plate appearances in his career, the majority coming with the Twins from 2010 to 2011. Valencia’s best season in regards to fWAR came in 2010. He hit .311 with 7 home runs and 40 RBI. He also had a great OBP of .351. His fWAR for that season was 2.2. 2011 saw Valencia hit 15 home runs with 72 RBI but his average went way down with double the plate appearances compared to 2010 to .246. There is likely a reason for that decline in batting average and as I will explain, it is exactly why he is now with the Blue Jays.
Since 2012, Valencia has been nothing more than a platoon player. That is because he has a career .227 average against right handed pitchers. However, his career average against left handed pitchers is .333 in just under 500 plate appearances. That .333 average against left handers is exactly why the Blue Jays acquired him. The Blue Jays have had their struggles against left handed starters and Valencia fills that need for someone who hits lefties.
I would imagine that when Brett Lawrie is healthy that with this deal we see Lawrie play second base and have a platoon of Juan Francisco and Valencia at 3rd base. However, Valencia has played limited amount of games at second base in his career and there is a slight chance Valencia could play 2nd. The likely scenario however is Lawrie at second with Valencia at third against left handers and Francisco at 3rd against right handers.
Time will tell what the roster construction will look like once the regulars are back from the DL but this move is a small, but great trade for the Blue Jays.