Baltimore’s decision to release Danny Valencia could end up benefiting the Yankees. He would be a massive boost for Aaron Boone’s lineup.
On the surface, the idea that a player who was released by the Orioles could significantly help the Yankees seems pretty far-fetched. Reality can be strange sometimes. The addition of Danny Valencia to New York’s lineup could be huge for the Yankees down the stretch.
There’s been a lot of attention on the club’s struggling pitching staff lately, but the offense hasn’t been much better. Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez have both been sorely missed in the Yankee lineup over the past several weeks. Sanchez appears somewhat close to a return, but there’s still no timetable on when Judge will rejoin the lineup.
The absence of those two sluggers has been complicated by the struggles of some other regulars. Gleyber Torres is suffering through a horrific slump at the moment. Greg Bird can’t seem to find his rhythm at the plate. Neil Walker doesn’t seem to be the answer at any position either.
Specifically, the Yankees have struggled to hit left-handed pitching lately. Playing the likes of Walker and Shane Robinson against talented southpaws just isn’t a wise plan. New York would clearly benefit from a player who can mash against left-handed pitching.
Valencia is just that sort of player. He’s slashing .303/.368/.505 against lefties this season. He also happens to have the positional versatility the Yankees need off their bench. Valencia’s ability to play first base and in the corner outfield spots would give Boone a lot of choices down the stretch.
Signing Valencia isn’t the type of move that’s going to turn the Yankees into World Series favorites overnight, but those moves aren’t available this time of year. Instead, Brian Cashman is intently focused on making moves around the margin of the roster to give his team slightly better odds heading into October. Turning the Orioles trash into Yankees treasure could make a big difference for this ball club down the stretch. Don’t be surprised if Valencia dons Pinstripes before the week is through.