The Angels have officially signed infielder Luis Valbuena to a two-year deal that includes a third-year mutual option, as first reported by Venezuelan journalist Efrain Zavarce. Per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, the deal guarantees $15 million, with the option coming in at $8.5 million.
Valbuena getting a guaranteed two-year deal with a third-year option comes in as a bit of a surprise, as his market was a bit slow this winter. His spot on the Angels’ roster is unclear due to the status of Yunel Escobar and C.J. Cron on the club’s roster, though the Halos could move one of those players before Opening Day or use Valbuena as insurance for Albert Pujols.
Valbuena, 31, joins Danny Espinosa, Cameron Maybin, Martin Maldonado and Ben Revere as veteran additions for the Angels this winter as the club looks to capitalize on their window of production for stars Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun. The Halos are still expected to seek starting pitching depth on the free-agent market, even after signing righty Jesse Chavez earlier in the winter.
Valbuena appeared at first, second and third base for Houston last season, hitting .260/.357/.459 with 13 homers and 40 RBI after hitting 25 homers in 2015. He will likely get a starting spot for the Halos once they move a starter, with Escobar appearing to be the most likely trade candidate at this point.
Valbuena is a veteran of nine major-league seasons with the Mariners (2008), Indians (2009-11), Cubs (2012-14) and Astros (2015-16), owning a lifetime .232/.317/.394 line with 83 homers in that span.