Kansas City and Baltimore swapped role players, with the Orioles sending third baseman/first baseman Danny Valencia to the Royals for outfielder David Lough.
Valencia was overmatched as a regular for the Twins, but has found a good niche as a part-timer used mostly versus left-handed pitching. He hit .304 with eight homers and an .888 OPS in 52 games for the Orioles this year and would make an ideal platoon partner with Mike Moustakas at third base.
Lough hit .286 in 96 games as a rookie, but he’s already 27 years old and the batting average was incredibly empty with just 10 walks and five homers in 335 plate appearances. He profiles best as a fourth outfielder.
No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.
Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.
Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.