Luis Valbuena’s isn’t an entirely new name to the rumor circuit. He’s a cost-controlled, well-liked dude who is hitting as well as ever this year, and who can play excellent defensive third base, and average defensive second base. Of course teams are interested.
For their part, the Chicago Cubs are not likely in an rush to move Valbuena, who makes just $1.71 million this year, and is under control for two more years. Even as the Cubs incorporate some of their young talent over the next two years, Valbuena would make for a hell of a nice transitional/bench/veteran piece. He’s also a lefty bat with an excellent approach at the plate.
And, it goes without saying, but he does this:
So, when Ken Rosenthal reports that the Oakland A’s were interested in Valbuena as part of the big Samardzija/Hammel deal, I can only assume that didn’t come to fruition because the Cubs flipped a table – a la Valbuena – and stormed out.
… but seriously. Rosenthal reports that the A’s wanted Valbuena as part of the deal, but it never came to pass. That said, sources tell Rosenthal that the A’s could target Valbuena again before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The A’s have unsuccessfully used guys like Alberto Callaspo and Nick Punto regularly at second base this year, and could stand for an upgrade like Valbuena.
Of course, when Billy Beane comes asking for a complementary guy like Valbuena – a guy in whom we can see the obvious value, but in whom baseball as a whole may not see the value – you should be nervous. He’s often very right about these kinds of players.
As I’ve written before, and hinted to in the preamble, it’ll be tough for the Cubs to trade Valbuena, because of the value problem. That is to say, it’s hard to see a team giving the Cubs enough value to part with Valbuena because of the difference in his perceived external value and his likely value to the Cubs right now.
That said, I do expect we’ll hear his name come up a lot over the next few weeks, particularly given the dearth of solid offensive pieces on the trade market right now.