In a surprise move, the Angels announced that they’ve designated corner infielder Luis Valbuena for assignment. To take his 25-man roster spot, the team recalled right-hander Deck McGuire from Triple-A Salt Lake.
Prior to his ouster, Valbuena had been two months from completing the two-year, $15MM guarantee the Angels awarded him as a free agent before last season. The deal also comes with an $8.5MM mutual option for 2019, but given his poor production in their uniform, the Angels would have bought him out for $500K instead. While the Angels will now have a week to find a taker for Valbuena via trade, that seems unlikely to happen. Instead, it’s fair to guess that the 32-year-old will clear waivers and end up back on the free-agent market soon after that.
Valbuena, who’s on an $8MM salary this year, has hit a horrid .199/.253/.335 with nine home runs and a .135 ISO in 288 plate appearances in 2018. He also batted .199 over 401 PAs in 2017, though Valbuena still offered far better overall production than he has this year, as he posted a .294 on-base percentage, a .432 slugging percentage, 22 homers and a .233 ISO. During what amounted to nearly a two-year run in Anaheim, Valbuena slashed .199/.277/.390 in 689 PAs.
The lefty-swinging Valbuena had been an above-average offensive player earlier in his career, which led the Angels to hand him a sizable payday. From 2013-16, which he divided between the Cubs and Astros, Valbuena hit .237/.333/.428 (112 wRC+) with 66 homers, a .191 ISO and respectable walk (12.0) and strikeout (20.5) percentages in 1,773 PAs.
Wow finally lol no more bat flipping a walk my guys.
Should have happened months ago
.199/.253/.335 – I’m not surprised.
You’re not alone zwaves.
it’s about time this guy was such a load on this team hurray hurrah.
A poor man’s Albert Pujols
He wishes he was a poor mans Albert Pujols
How is this surprising? He has 206 Ks in his last 700 ABs with .199 avg and .275 OBP over the past two years
About time, now put Upton on waivers and see if anyone wants him to bat 4th and strike out every at bat with men in scoring position. Seems odd that since it was reported that Scioscia is stepping down at season end, all this sensible moves are happening SEE YA SCIOSCIA
Why? Scioscia has always been known as a players manager. Now that he’s gone, they can retool the roster to their liking.
You do know he’s still there right? He’s expected to step down at the end of the year and he himself has stated that’s “poppycock”
I didn’t know Scioscia was the one overpaying for Justin Upton. Seems the problems go beyond the team’s manager.
“The lefty-swinging Valbuena had been an above-average offensive player earlier in his career”….don’t know in what universe this guy could be considered an above average offensive player as his career BA is .226 and this guy has never hit above .260 and that was only 1 year!
Come on Connor Byrne!!!!
He was above average in 2014-16 and only slightly below average in 2013 and 2017. A simple look at his OPS+ would have told you that, but feel free to keep looking at batting average to think that means much.
Have you watched Valbuena at all in Anaheim?
I’m not an Angels fan, so no. Clearly he wasn’t doing well, or else he’d still be on the roster. But my point is that OPS+ is a real thing and it says he was average or close to average over those years. I’m not advocating for him, just pointing out that the original comment only referencing average is pretty ignorant.
Connor probably doesn’t get to watch the Angels much either, but when you’re a writer who has to have knowledge of 30 teams that you can’t always watch, those park-adjusted stats can come in handy.
You do realize you can’t tell if a player is bad/average/good/mediocre based on batting average right?
No. If a player has a .340 BA he is good. If a player has a .199 BA he is bad
That’s a pretty significant range you got there
What about .250? There’s a wide variety of outcomes from there
Hello Matt Thaiss. Good to see you
Man I wish. But I think Taylor Ward is going to be the guy first
Both Thaiss and Ward will get looks in September, but I doubt either will get a call up just because Valbuena is gone. Fletcher, Marte, and Cowart all will share, with Cowart getting chances vs RHP.
Spring can change the plans of a lot of teams, but I think Ward is fairly certain to be on the team in 2019, and Thaiss maybe as well. I can see a scenario where Cozart plays 2B (and understudies Simmons at SS), Ward starts at 3B, Thais plays 1B to back up Pujols, and Fletcher becomes the new Chone Figgins, playing different positions at different times to give other starters a day off. We’ve seen him play 2B/SS/3B/OF, so there is plenty of opportunity to fill in at random, or cover during 10-day DL needs.
If anybody, it’s Ward, not Thaiss. For either of them, you want them to have regular playing time. Thaiss wouldn’t get that. Ward could.
Next season we could see Taylor Ward starting at third and Matt Thaiss essentially taking Valbuena’s original role from this season.
$15MM to make -0.9 bWAR, lolAngels
I was hoping this would mean a call up for Ward or Rengifo. We still have a lot of games left against Oak and Sea.
thank God. Calhoun was hard to watch at the beginning of the year, but BatFlip is overall terrible. Never understood the signing or continued playing time. Adding me to the roster would have been an upgrade.
No you wouldn’t have
This was done simply to prevent Scioscia from playing him over the younger players who will be part of next year’s team.
Just like with Mathis, Ibanez, Wells, Frieri, and more a GMmust take the sharp objects away from Mike.
Why did it take so long? 8 million a year for buck ninety nine. Waste of 7 million 6 hundred thousand.
Because Valbuena (and Marte) could play corners, that made him more valuable as a piece than a player like Cron, who could play only 1B. Add in the fact he hit LH on an initial roster which was heavily RH, and 20 HR playing part time in 2017, it was easy to see how attractive he was to the team. The $8.5M commitment for 2018 (including 2019 buyout) meant he wasn’t going to get released early on.
If you remember 2017, he was MIA offensively for the first half of the season, then gained his footing in the 2nd half. Perhaps the team thought the same would happen this season. If so, the answer clearly was “nope”.
This organization need to learn to grow and move forward. With Thaiss and Ward as future corner infield’s doing well in SLC, they have to be called up to grow. With Ohtani as the DH…. it’s a must that they let Pujols go. The only thing Pujols brings is the worst contract in MLB history. Either way they must pay him, and if your gonna pay him you might as well at least put the best team in the field.
Pujols is “the worst contract in MLB history”?
Chris Davis says hi. At least the Angels got some offensive from the earlier years of the Pujols deal. The Orioles have had nothing but negative WAR.
Previous to this year which has not ended, In the last 4 years, Pujols has averaged 30.5 Home Runs and has driven an average of 102 RBI per year.
You know how many kids can be help the that wasted 7 or 8 million.
Finally! Never seen a hitter put more effort in his bat flip then his mechanics. Lol Flipping your bat after a single is just plain stupid.
Why not call up Matt Thais….
good riddance as a ballplayer. but welcomed as a citizen as he obtained his US citizenship this year.