Kansas City traded outfielder David Lough to the Orioles for third baseman Danny Valencia today. The move makes a lot of sense for the Royals.
They have outfielders to spare, and by making the trade, they may have found a way to solve their problem at third base, where left-handed hitter Mike Moustakas has been unable to hit lefties (.222/.275/.332 in 365 at-bats). Valencia, who bats from the right side, really only hits lefties (.371/.392/.639 in 97 at-bats, which admittedly, is a pretty small sample), so we could be looking at a platoon situation heading into 2014.
It took Lough six seasons to make it to the big leagues with the Royals. After finally getting a limited look in 2012, he played his way onto the big league club in 2013, where he spent most of the season, hitting .286/.311/.413.
What Lough may have lacked in size and power, he made up for with effort, often drawing comparisons to David DeJesus. I interviewed Lough in 2010 - his first year in Triple-A. He had high hopes at the time, mostly based on his willingness to work hard, and who could blame him?
"I'm all about playing the game hard," Lough said at the time. "I feel like if you play hard, play smart, you do the right things, you take care of your body, [then] things will start turning your way. I felt that, with my hard work and my dedication to the game, and working on the things I need to work on, that I could become a complete player and kind of move up in the system pretty quick."
It didn't exactly work out that way for him, but he never changed his attitude, making him a fan favorite in Omaha. I talked to him while he played for Omaha in 2012, when the outfield situation in Kansas City was still crowded, and he remained positive.
"It's about getting your shot," Lough said. "Obviously, we've got some good outfielders up there in the big leagues. You always root for the guys ahead of you because they kind of set the path for you in Spring Training. They always look after you. And I've got nothing but positive things to say about all those guys.
"Whether it's for Kansas City, or someone else, you're always playing for [all of the] teams out there. I go out and I try to win for my team. I play hard and play smart. That's kind of how I look at it."
After seeing a guy like Lough claw his way through the ranks, I wouldn't have minded seeing him remain in Royal blue, but that's the sentimental side of me speaking.
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