The Twins are ready to make some changes. While I agree something probably should be done at this point, I just hope they don't do the wrong ones. Getting Casilla out of there is obvious, but this is the part that has me concerned:
The club also is concerned third baseman Danny Valencia has regressed defensively and is not the player he was last season, when he batted .311 in 85 games as a rookie and was solid in the field. Valencia is batting only .211, and his defense has been shaky at times. Manager Ron Gardenhire also has not been happy with Valencia's baserunning.
Valencia actually leads the Twins with 13 RBI, but that's more a reflection of the struggling players around him. Some with the club believe Luke Hughes' best position is third base, but there have been no indications the club is ready to make a change there for now.
I'll give them that Valencia hasn't been as good as last year on defense, but the defensive metrics say he has gone from a terrific defensive player to slightly below average. He's only been credited with two errors. And at this point in his career it's more likely this first month of the season is a fluke than three months last season, although we really don't have enough defensive data to make any true judgments at this point.
However, as for his offense, Valencia has a .225 BABIP after having a .345 BABIP last year, so he went to being somewhat fortunate (the Twins had a .306 team BABIP last year) to extremely unfortunate. Valencia actually leads the Twins in walks with 11 and only has 13 strikeouts for by far the best K/BB rate on the team. He has increased his walk rate from last year, dropped his strikeout rate and maintained the same line-drive rate, which is right at the major league average.
As for baserunning, I'll give them that he hasn't been aggressive enough, but he hasn't regressed in that area, he just hasn't improved. Last year, he only took an extra base 25 percent of the time, while the Twins as a whole did it 41 percent. This year, Valencia is at 23 percent in very few opportunities, so he has essentially remained the same. He may not be aggressive, but at least he isn't costing the team outs on the basepaths.
The Twins have many problems, but I don't think Valencia is one of them. Unfortunately, he hasn't been around long enough to get a free pass like many others are getting. I hope his luck changes before the Twins do something stupid.