It’s not a big deal, but the Blue Jays and Royals have pulled off a trade this evening which will send infielder Danny Valencia to Toronto and catcher Erik Kratz and right-hander Liam Hendriks to Kansas City.
Valencia, 29, is batting .282/.328/.382 with two home runs and 11 RBI over 119 plate appearances this season. While he does most of his damage against left-handed pitching, he could see semi-regular playing time at third base until Brett Lawrie is ready to return from a fractured right index finger.
Kratz has hit just .198/226/.346 in 84 plate appearances at the major league level this season, but he slugged 18 home runs over 118 games with the Phillies from 2012-2013. At the very least, he has a chance to be an upgrade over Brett Hayes as Salvador Perez’s backup. Hendriks, 25, owns an ugly 6.06 over 31 starts and two relief appearances in the majors. With a 2.33 ERA in Triple-A this year, he’ll serve as rotation depth with his new club.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.