Detroit Tigers free agency primer: Danny Valencia an ideal fit
Potential offensive fit with the Detroit Tigers
Valencia’s .156 and .159 ISO numbers the last two seasons don’t exactly fit the profile of an offensive masher at first base.
That being said, he’s mashed 32 home runs and 77 total extra-base hits in his last 1,017 extra-base hits.
The former Twin, who incidentally started his Major League career under new Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire in Minnesota, has found plenty of success against southpaws in his career.
In 994 lifetime plate appearances against left-handed pitching, Valencia owns a 130 wRC+, a .364 wOBA, a .191 ISO and a .850 OPS.
There’s also plenty of potential in a platoon consisting of the veteran and John Hicks.
Hicks logged 124 plate appearances last season against right-handed pitchers. He hit .286 with a 109 wRC+, a .338 wOBA, a .152 ISO and a .784 OPS.
Detroit could slot Valencia in as the team’s sixth hitter behind Miguel Cabrera, Nicholas Castellanos and Candelario.
Conversely, Gardenhire could bat the ex-Twin fifth and bump Candelario to the second spot in the order.
Either way, Valencia would give the Detroit Tigers an extra source of pop in a lineup that will begin 2018 without the likes of Justin Upton, J.D. Martinez, Alex Avila and potentially Ian Kinsler if the second baseman is dealt this winter.
In September of 2017, Detroit’s decimated offense finished 20th in slugging percentage. They also ranked 24th in ISO and wRC+ and 29th in on-base percentage.
Adding Valencia obviously won’t solve all the offensive issues.
However, there’s plenty of value to be had on a moderately-priced, one-year deal.
In that situation, the 33-year-old would then become a trade chip by the time July rolls around. This would give the Tigers the opportunity to amass more prospects for the future.
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Ideally, Christin Stewart will be ready for the Majors by July, giving the team a power bat to replace Valencia in the lineup.