According to unconfirmed reports from Venezuelan reporter Efrain Zavarance, the Los Angeles Angels are nearing a multi-year contract with versatile veteran-infielder, Luis Valbuena.
Sources close to Scout.com have noted Valbuena will fly to Anaheim from Venezuela over the weekend to complete a physical, which matches the initial report from Zavarance. The Angels Front Office has not confirmed.
In a separate report from Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, the deal is expected to be two years with an option, but is not confirmed by the Angels General Manager, Billy Eppler.
Valbuena, 31, has played nine years at the Major League level for four separate clubs, hitting .232 with 83 home runs and a .712 OPS in 798 games.
Spending the last two seasons in the AL West with the Astros, Valbuena eventually lost his starting position to rising prospect, Alex Bregman. Not before attaining career highs in home runs (25) in 2015, and following it up with a career high slash of .260/.357/.459 in 2016.
In an analytical statistic to measure isolated power, Valbuena's .208 ISO ranks 47th of 200 Major League players with the same amount of plate appearances since 2015. He ranks 10th among 31 third baseman over the same span.
Primarily a third baseman, Valbuena is versatile enough to also play second and first base. All three of those positions have seemingly been filled with full-time starters, suggesting the Venezuelan will be a strong bench piece, adding left-handed depth to the lineup when necessary.
If the signing is a two-year contract, that could open the option of trading current starters, Yunel Escobar or Danny Espinoza - who will be free agents at the end of the 2017 season - for needed pitching depth. Another trade option could be first baseman, C.J. Cron, who has drawn interest from multiple teams according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
According to a source close to Scout.com, the Angels are not planning to trade any of their current infield options.
The added depth would suggest a push back in the depth chart for young bench players like Jefry Marte and Kaleb Cowart. Both will likely be expected to begin the season with Triple-A Salt Lake, where they can attain regular at bats, continuing their development.
Valbuena was playing for Cardenales de Lara, of the Venezuelan Winter League. In eight games with the Cardenales, Valbuena went 11-for-28 with two doubles and five walks.null