Just when many fans were starting to worry that the Toronto Blue Jays were going to stand pat at the Major League Baseball trade deadline, Alex Anthopoulos and company pulled of a trade of sorts.
As first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports, and then confirmed and added to by Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, the Blue Jays are sending Triple-A pitcher Liam Hendriks and catcher Erik Kratz to the Kansas City Royals.
In return, the Blue Jays are receiving infielder Danny Valencia from the Royals, as noted by Ken Rosenthal.
In Valencia, the Blue Jays get a solid utility infielder that can play second, third, or DH, not to mention a right-handed hitter that absolutely mashed left-handed pitching to the tune of .354/.386/.492 in 2014 and .333/.369/.510 over the course of his career. Overall, Valencia is hitting .282/.328/.382 with 2 home runs and 11 RBI in 119 plate appearances.
The acquisition of Valencia gives the Blue Jays the flexibility to platoon Juan Francisco, who has struggled against southpaws, slashing just .118/.184/.206 against left-handed pitching and has struck out in 44.7% of his at bats against same-hand pitching.
The move is also a good one for the Royals, who were looking to for an upgrade to back-up starting catcher Salvador Perez. While Kratz was hitting just .198 in intermittent usage with the major league club, the big catcher was hitting a solid .299/.354/.517 with the Blue Jays Triple-A affiliate. He’s also known to be a plus defender, with a solid arm, but was blocked in Toronto by Dioner Navarro and R.A. Dickey‘s personal catcher Josh Thole.
Also going to the Royals was Liam Hendriks, who made three starts for the Blue Jays since being claimed off waivers prior to the season. In 13.1 Major League innings in 2014, Hendriks owns a 6.08 ERA with a 5.4 K/9 ratio. However, like Kratz, his numbers at Buffalo have been outstanding. In 108.1 innings with the Bisons, Hendriks owns a spectacular 2.33 ERA with a 7.6 K/9 ratio, a 0.6 BB/9 ratio, and an 8-1 record.
All and all, this is a great trade for the Blue Jays, as they acquire a usable Major League piece for essentially spare parts, albeit good spare parts. Valencia will likely replace Munenori Kawasaki on the active roster and join the Blue Jays for Tuesday’s game in Boston.