What’s the Deal with This Danny Valencia?

There are reports the Mets were and/or are interested in Oakland A’s third baseman Danny Valencia. Should they be? The guy has had a very odd career.

danny valencia
Mets reportedly interested in Danny Valencia.

The New York Post reported on Friday that the Mets asked about Valencia before acquiring Kelly Johnson. Now that David Wright is likely out for the remainder of the season, the Mets could revisit a possible deal.

Valencia, for his part, says his wouldn’t be surprised if he is traded somewhere.

“We all joke about it,’’ Valencia said, according to ESPN.com. “They (the A’s) are notorious for making trades, so it’s in the back of everybody’s mind. If the team’s not in the thick of things, they will make moves and blow up the team to some degree.”

Valencia came up through the Twins organization and made his debut in 2010. He played half a season and hit .311, good enough for a third-place finish in the AL Rookie of the Year voting (not many good rookies that year). In a full season in 2011, he showed some pop, hitting 15 home runs with 72 RBIs. But he batted .246 and struck out 102 times.

Then the odyssey began. Valencia got off to a slow start in 2012 and was traded to the Red Sox in the middle of the season, where he was even worse. The Orioles bought him and he hit a decent .304 in 52 games in 2013. Not decent enough, apparently, because he was traded in the winter to the Royals. He was hitting .282 in 36 games in 2014 when he was traded to the Blue Jays. He stuck around Toronto for the beginning of the 2015 season, batting .296 with seven home runs in 58 games when he was waived to make room on the roster. Oakland picked him up, where he hit 11 home runs and batted .284 in 47 games.

If you’re counting, that’s six teams in seven years.  Why has everybody given up on this guy despite showing some competence with the bat? After all, he is a career .273 hitter and averages about 10 home runs per year in limited time. There are plenty of players with worse stats on every team.

He is exceeding expectations this season, already with 10 home runs and batting a robust .331. After batting .290 with 18 home runs last year, maybe he has finally figured it all out and at age 31 is ready to blossom?

Or not. I have no problem with the Mets getting Danny Valencia as long as it does not come at the cost of any significant prospect.

But it begs the question — is he really an upgrade over Wilmer Flores? The Mets seem determined not to give Flores a shot. Unless they can get a difference-maker (and Valencia is not that type of player), the Mets just might want to see once and for all if Flores can handle an everyday job. If not, then go out and get Danny Valencia and add another stop to his baffling career.

UPDATE-6/19

Well, this might explain it. John Harper of the Daily News writes:

As for Danny Valencia, he’s having a strong year for the A’s, but apparently he has a reputation for being abrasive in the clubhouse, which may at least partly explain why he’s played for six teams in his seven years in the big leagues.

“When he was with Minnesota,” a major-league scout said, “I heard that (Michael) Cuddyer used to have to pin him against the wall every couple of weeks and put him in his place.”

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