According to this tweet from Patrick Reusse of 1500ESPN.com, the Minnesota Twins are looking to trade third baseman Danny Valencia. Offseason acquisition Jamey Carroll has moved into a utility role and will play at second and third base, which will further cut into Valencia’s playing time. Carroll has been moved from his shortstop position due to his unsurprisingly poor defense and the promotion of prospect Brian Dozier.
These moves made Valencia expendable, but there won’t be much of a market for the 3B. He was worth 2.7 WAR in 2010, but that season was built on a .345 BABIP that helped yield a .351 OBP. His projected WAR total from ZiPS dropped from 1.2 to 1 WAR, and he is an average backup at this point.
So far this year, Danny Valencia has been terrible with a .239 wOBA in 87 plate appearances. He is on pace for a .288 wOBA with 11 home runs. Valencia’s above-average 2010 campaign was a fluke, and he is just a .290 OBP guy overall.
Valencia followed up that 2010 season with a 0.5 WAR year in 2011, and his defense took a turn for the worse from 5.9 UZR to -6.1 UZR. His defense is rated poorly on a whole, and he has been subpar defensively this year as well. He will most likely fetch the Twins a low level prospect, but he could get them something of significance if they get lucky and a team is high on him.
For any prospective buyers, Valencia should be utilized as a backup infielder and nothing else. He has some pop (15 homers in 2011, .135 ISO guy), but he doesn’t draw walks and is a career .265 hitter even with his lucky .311 batting average in 2010. It’s not a surprise Twins want to rid themselves of Valencia, given that he was losing ground with the team; they want to pursue other options.
The 27-year-old third baseman was going to be demoted from his everyday role anyway, and he is coming off of an 82 wRC+ season that shows his true value after an anomaly year in 2010 (120 wRC+ in his rookie year).
Danny Valencia’s plate discipline statistics tell the story of a player with average plate discipline, and he also has low line drive rates in about 1,000 career plate appearances. He does an average job of getting contact, but he’s not a good hitter at all. Valencia has a career 91 wRC+ which shows that he isn’t terrible, but, combined with subpar defense, he’s not deserving of a starting spot.
1 WAR third basemen aren’t untouchables, so the Twins should be able to find a landing spot at some point. It doesn’t matter if they wait until the deadline or not, since a backup infielder’s value isn’t going to change dramatically in this period of time. I never get why some fans were high on him coming into the season, because his best season was solid but was built on luck. We’ll see who the potential buyers are going forward, as there is bound to be at least one team that wants him.