The Indians announced today that Luis Valbuena is headed to Toronto for cash considerations.
I almost wish that the Indians could have at least gotten a low-level minor league player for Valbuena, but I guess you take what you can. With both Jason Kipnis and Jason Donald, it didn’t really seem likely that Valbuena was going to get much playing time at the Major League level. The Indians also didn’t seem to have much faith in him this past season (with good reason) – he spent a lot of time on the bench during many of his call ups, and even had a few disastrous innings in the outfield.
As I’ve mentioned before, Valbuena always seemed to have success at the minor league level; it just never translated into anything in the Majors. He had 368 Major League at-bats in 2009, which was definitely his most productive year in Cleveland. He hit .250/.298/.416 with 10 home runs. His average over three seasons (2009-2011) was .226/.286/.344 with 13 home runs; he had 275 at-bats in 2010 and 43 in 2011. Odd/interesting fact: of Valbuena’s 13 career Major League home runs, six came against teams from the windy city – 3 against the Chicago Cubs and 3 against the Chicago White Sox.
It was a completely different story in the minors, where Valbuena’s numbers were anything but lackluster – he hit .302/.372/.476 with 17 home runs in Columbus in 2011.
I really had a lot of hope that Valbuena could blossom into quite an interesting player after the 2009 season. He could be sloppy defensively, but showed a few flashes of brilliance…plus his bat had a lot of pop. Hopefully he can find success with the Blue Jays.