Early reactions on the Lough for Valencia trade indicate that there is more to come, and the initial speculations point to Bonifacio as the one who will be moved next. His salary if somewhat high for a utility infielder, and the Royals have Colon waiting to come to the big league team.
That sounds nice and tight and all, but I'm not buying it.
Another theory has the Royals moving Maxwell, carrying only 4 outfielders. Apparently, that idea is based on keeping Dyson...because he can run fast. He cant hit worth a damn, and has been known to misjudge fly balls.....but can run fast.
The additions of Aoki, Infante, and now Valencia will have big impacts on the Royals OBP, Slugging Pct., team batting average, strikeout rate, and BABIP....based on their numbers compared to the players they are replacing numbers from last year. Valencia isnt necessarily here to replace Moose, but his .371 batting average vs left handed pitchers is hell and gone better than Moose vs left handed pitchers. Aoki doesnt strike out. He would have been the Royals best hitter last season with a .315 average, and batting leadoff....will get the Royals off to a good start more often than not. He also allows Gordon to move down into an RBI spot in the lineup.
Infante coming off a .318 season, would bat second and suddenly.....the third and fourth hitters have one golden opportunity after another to drive in runs. If it were up to me, I'd slot Gordon at #3, Hosmer at #4, and Maxwell, the DH at #5.
Billy Butler is expensive. He is a liability at first base, cant run the bases, and grounded into double plays more than any other player in the American League last year. He also manages to bat near .300 every year, and carries the highest trade value of any Royals player from last years team. Its no secret that the Royals would like to sign a #2 starting pitcher, and dumping Butler's $9 million salary would clear payroll space to make that happen. Take back good prospects in trade and we're golden.
With the adjustment to 15 teams in both the AL and NL, inter-league play will be a season long occurrence. When the Royals go to a National League city, they have to figure out a way to get Butler into the lineup....usually by putting Hosmer in right. That was fine when it meant benching Lough/Dyson/Maxwell for a game or three, but now....do you bench Cain? Aoki? Do you bench Moose and move Gordon to Third? No...by trading Butler, you maintain outfield rotations and use a rotation of Maxwell/Bonifacio/Valencia as the DH. Then, when you go to Atlanta, the DH being out of the lineup doesnt force you to play 52 card pickup with the rest of the roster just so one guy can play.
By trading Butler, you are able to keep your role players from going long stretches without playing, have a pinch runner, a pinch hitter, and not have to hit a double to score Billy Butler from 2nd.....It also allows you to maybe re-sign Ervin Santana