Royals deal outfielder David Lough to Orioles for infielder Danny Valencia
12/18/2013 4:22 PM
12/19/2013 10:21 AM
The Royals’ outfield ranks just got thinner.
David Lough, who hit .286 and made some dazzling plays with his glove last season, was traded to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday for third baseman Danny Valencia.
Valencia, 29, split 117 games last season between Baltimore and the team’s Class AAA club in Norfolk, Va.
In 52 games with the Orioles, Valencia hit .304 with eight home runs, 14 doubles and 23 RBI. His .553 slugging percentage was the fifth highest in the American League for players with at least 150 at-bats.
Royals general manager Dayton Moore said Valencia can also play first base and he provides depth.
“We felt the need to have a right-handed bat with some power and somebody who could play the corners,” Moore said. “He’s been very effective against left-handed pitching.”
Valencia, a right-handed hitter, hit .371 against left-handed pitching last season.
Current Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is a career .222 against left-handed pitching. But Moore said this won’t be a platoon situation but an opportunity to give Royals manager Ned Yost options.
“It gives Ned the opportunity to mix and match in any given situation,” Moore said.
Valencia is a career .263 hitter who has hit .295 at Kauffman Stadium (18 for 61) in parts of four major-league seasons with the Twins, Red Sox and Orioles.
He was the Twins’ full-time third baseman in 2011, when he played 154 games. That season, Valencia hit .246 with 15 home runs and 28 doubles.
In 2010, Valencia was third in the American League rookie of the year voting. He hit .311 in 85 games in Minnesota.
Valencia gives Royals infield depth with Emilio Bonifacio’s ability to play several positions.
“It also puts us in a position to be prepared for injuries, and not have to throw in the towel for a week or so while waiting for somebody to return,” Moore said.
The Royals figured to make a move with their logjam of outfielders during the offseason. After the team acquired Norichika Aoki from the Brewers earlier this month, the outfield looked set with Aoki, Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain.
That left Lough, Justin Maxwell and Jarrod Dyson as potential backups. The Royals figure to carry five outfielders.
“Once we got Aoki, it was going to limit at-bats for David,” Moore said. “We’ll miss David. That’s a great addition for Baltimore.”
Lough was the best glove man of the bunch, but Maxwell is a right-handed power hitter and Dyson is the team’s fastest base runner.
Lough, 27, was the Royals’ 11th-round selection in the 2007 draft and made his major-league debut in 2012, when he hit .237 in 20 games.
Last season, his best game at the plate came in a June 30 victory at Minnesota, where he went four for four with three doubles and a home run.
The move is the fourth major adjustment to the roster. The Royals filled a couple of major needs with Aoki and second baseman Omar Infante and signed starting pitcher Jason Vargas.
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