by John Viril—
The Kansas City Royals dealt outfielder David Lough Wednesday afternoon to the Baltimore Orioles for corner infielder Danny Valencia. Lough was caught in a numbers game in the Kansas City outfield after the Royals acquired RF Norichika Aoki from Milwaukee. With Justin Maxwell, Jarrod Dyson, and Lough on the Kansas City roster as backup outfielders, something had to give. General manager Dayton Moore has engineered a trade that has clearly strengthened his bench.
The 29-year-0ld Valencia brings some pop to the bench with 33 career home runs and a .553 slugging percentage last season. His primary defensive position has been 3B, but he can also play at 1B and DH. The right-handed batting Valencia shows a strong platoon split over his career: he mashes lefties (.329/.367/.513). He could be a platoon candidate for left-handed hitting 3B Mike Moustakas in case he struggles against left-handed pitching once again (.196/.256/.290 in 2013). Dayton Moore, however, indicated that he does not see Moustakas as a platoon player, though manager Ned Yost might choose to match up Valencia against certain left-handed starters.
Acquiring Valencia was a shrewd move by Dayton Moore to shore up his bench. Before the trade, the Royals had Justin Maxwell, Jarrod Dyson, and Lough slotted as reserve outfielders, with Emilio Bonifacio as the only infield reserve. While the soon to be 28-year-old Lough enjoyed a strong rookie year last season (2.7 bWAR and .286/.311/.413), he was going to struggle to find playing time behind Aoki and the team’s crowded bench. Now, Moore’s roster makes more sense.
I also do not think Moore is finished dealing. If Moore chooses to carry 12 relievers (as is common), he will need to choose between Jarrod Dyson and Maxwell. With Valencia able to provide right-handed power off the bench, Moore is likely to choose Dyson’s range in the outfield and speed on the basepaths.
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