Interesting deal Monday between the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays, two teams that have at times led their divisions but have fallen to second place. Well, interesting to Twins fans, at least. It's unlikely to change the standings in any meaningful way.
The Royals shipped third baseman Danny Valencia to the Blue Jays in exchange for catcher Erik Kratz and pitcher Liam Hendriks.
Despite my title for this post, the trade's not really Valencia for Hendriks. It's Valencia for Kratz with Hendriks as a throw-in. But to a Twins fan, Kratz is an unknown, and Valencia and Hendriks are a couple of guys we once held hopes for.
Valencia it a fairly empty .282 for Kansas City. The Royals picked him up during offseason presumably as a platoon option with Mike Moustakas, a high draft pick who has disappointed. Moustakas has been even worse than Valencia, but Ned Yost is apparently as allergic to platoons as Ron Gardenhire, so the platoon notion never went anywhere. The Jays have a bunch of corner infielders on the DL (Brett Lawrie, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind), so they can find at-bats for Valencia, at least until these superior players return.
The Royals wanted Kratz as an upgrade on their backup catcher; Brett Hayes has hit .135 in very limited at-bats behind Salvador Perez. Kratz has at least flashed some power in the majors, which is more than Hayes offers. He's an upgrade, but not a significant one.
And Hendriks? Well, we're fairly familiar with this from the Aussie: The Jays gave him three big league starts, in which he worked a total of 13.1 innings and compiled a 6.08 ERA. In Triple A, Hendriks is 8-1, 2.33.
I really don't know why he dominates in the high minors and is so inept in the majors. He'll be for the Royals what he was for the Jays -- rotation depth in Triple A.