Angels Appear Set to Add Luis Valbuena

Updated: January 23, 2017

The Angels are apparently close to a multi-year deal with free agent infielder Luis Valbuena, according to OC Register’s Jeff Fletcher. He cites sources that make it sound like it’s a two year deal with an option for a third year. If true, it’s another strong, short-term signing for the Angels to add depth, power, and defense without breaking the bank, regardless of the AAV. Valbuena brings positional versatility along with pop and the ability to get on base, with thirteen home runs and an .816 OPS in only ninety games last season after hitting twenty-five home runs the previous season.

Valbuena also had a decent .260/.357/.459 slash line last season, and has posted an OPS over .700 each of the last four seasons. Valbuena also represents lineup versatility, as he’s a lefty bat who can fill in at third, first, second, and possibly the outfield. His signing probably pushes Jefrey Marte to the minors, where he can continue to develop with consistent at-bats.

Valbuena is another strong defender, and joins Cameron Maybin, Ben Revere, Danny Espinosa, and Martin Maldonado as offseason additions who score high marks in that area. Both Espinosa and starting third baseman Yunel Escobar are free agents after this season, as well as fellow back-up infielder Cliff Pennington,  so signing Valbuena for multiple years adds depth in the likely case that some or all of those players leave.

Overall, Valbuena fits the continued goal for GM Billy Eppler this season to improve the defense, while adding much needed veteran depth, as well as a player who can fill in against tough righties and serve as a late-inning defensive replacement for Escobar.

With his offseason additions, Eppler may have put together a defense to rival the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians, and this time with a player who brings strong value to the plate. The overall grade will wait to see what the AAV is, but it’s another quiet, yet solid move for the Halos.

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