luis valbuena cubsToday the Chicago Cubs signed the first of their arbitration-eligible players for 2013, inking infielder Luis Valbuena to a one-year, $930,000 deal. He was eligible for arbitration for the first time.

The deadline to exchange figures isn’t until next Friday, so each of Valbuena and the Cubs must have felt like they had a pretty good gauge on his value (and I’d say this is right about it). He’ll be a utility infielder for the Cubs in 2013, spelling Darwin Barney at second from time to time, and perhaps even competing with Ian Stewart for more regular playing time at third.

Valbuena played a great deal at third for the Cubs last year after Stewart’s season was ended by his recurrent wrist problems. He played quality defense, but hit justĀ .219/.310/.340 over 303 plate appearances. Then again, his BABIP was just .260, so there is reason to believe he could have hit quite a bit better. The Cubs have clearly liked him for a while, so we’ll see just how much work he gets next year.

The Cubs’ remaining arbitration-eligible players are Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, and James Russell.

  • Fishin Phil

    OK, I guess.

    Pardon me while I try to control my giddiness.

    • bluekoolaidaholic

      Me too!
      Actually though I heard that he tore up winter ball, maybe he figured something out down there and will hit well now.

      • SirCub

        Yea, he put up big numbers. And I’m almost more inclined to believe a succesful winter ball stint supported by a nice BB rate, than I am an unsuccessful ML stint deflated by a low BABIP.

  • Bret Epic

    I’m glad he’s sticking around. Good utility player and I think he’s a bit better than his numbers. I don’t expect him to ever be a star caliber player, but definitely a useful lefty hitting utility player or pinch hitter.

  • UAFoo

    I see the Cubs did a couple minor league signings as well.(Mainly noticed they have played for the Red Sox so some of Theo’s kids)

    • Cub Fan Dan

      Brent Lillibridge & Darnell McDonald per MLBTR.

  • Spencer


  • The Future Mr. Ashely Chavez


  • Fishin Phil

    Actually, I am OK with him as utility guy. It is my deep-seated fear that he becomes our default starting third baseman that is bringing me down.

    • fromthemitten

      same. Theo and Jed ranted and raved about his power potential but I’d prefer to see him coming off the bench and NOT getting 300+ PAs

    • CubFan Paul

      Theo has to keep his 2014 first round pick protected somehow.

  • Jeff1969

    The invite of Lilibridge is direct competition for Valbuena. Lilibridge, aside from that one year with the Sox, has sucked pretty hard, but he’s a guy you root for & hope he can get his act together again.