The Oakland Athletics aren’t doing especially well this season, making players like Danny Valencia prime trade targets, with the New York Mets, Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians hoping to land the third baseman.
The Royals and the Mets are both looking to replace injured players: The Royals with Mike Moustakas, the Mets with David Wright, although they’ve already made an addition, in Jose Reyes, to try and help their infield. With the Indians, the hottest team in the majors right now, it’s more a matter of improving production at the position. They haven’t been satisfied with what they’ve been getting from players at the position, and even the success of Jose Ramirez, splitting time between 3B and left field, isn’t holding them back from looking at trade options, now that the season is going well beyond expectations.
Valencia, 31, played for the Royals briefly in 2014. He joined the A’s from the Blue Jays in 2015, and has been settling in quite nicely so far. He’s batting .327 with 11 home runs and a .918 OPS through 223 plate appearances. His defense hasn’t been very good to say the least, which makes one wonder if left field, another place the Indians could plug him in, would be a better fit, but his bat makes him attractive despite his defensive metrics looking less than impressive.
Valencia doesn’t become a free agent until 2018. He’s making $3.15 million this season, which means the team that takes will roughly be on the hook for $1.5 million. In 7 major league seasons, he’s played for the Twins, Red Sox, Orioles, Royals, Blue Jays and now the A’s. He has a career batting average of .274, and per 162 games, he averages 18 home runs and 79 RBIs a season. For teams looking to contend and pick up some reliable bat, his defense shouldn’t be a preventing measure from a deal being completed. His contract makes it even more lucrative to deal for him.