Luis Valbuena fills several needs and opens up several possibilities for the Los Angeles Angels while they wait for Albert Pujols to get healthy.
Valbuena and the Angels completed a $15 million, two-year contract Tuesday. The power-hitting corner infielder will play both positions for the Angels, who are coming off their worst record since 1999.
The 31-year-old Valbuena spent the past two years with the Houston Astros, batting .260 last season with 13 homers and 40 RBIs despite missing the final two months with a hamstring injury.
He gets $6.5 million this year and $8 million in 2018, and there is an $8.5 million mutual option for 2019. He would get a $500,000 buyout if the Angels decline the option.
The option price would escalate by $500,000 each at three levels based on plate appearances in 2018 or 2017-18 combined: 425-800, 450-820 and 475-875. He would get a one-time $500,000 assignment bonus if traded.
Valbuena sounded thrilled to land with the Angels after an offseason of free agency, citing his friendship with Pujols as a big attraction in Orange County.
“I feel good, because I like that team,” Valbuena said. “I wanted to be here because I’ve got a good relationship with a couple of guys on the team.”
With Pujols possibly sidelined past opening day following offseason foot surgery, Valbuena is likely to play extensively at first base for the Angels. He also provides a valuable left-handed bat in a lineup heavy with right-handed hitters.
Source : Associated Press