Cubs pick up infielder Luis Valbuena, go with 6 man bullpen

Apparently the Cubs aren't sweating out the available space nearly as much as I am.  Despite having just one available spot, a plethora of middle infielders, and rosters needing to be finalized today, the Cubs claimed infielder Luis Valbuena off of waivers from Toronto.  He's out of options so the Cubs will have to keep him on the 25 man roster.  The Cubs are keeping an extra position player and going with a six man bullpen.

Valbuena is a left-handed hitting 2B who stands at 5'10", 195 lbs.  He's somewhat stocky in build.  Think Ronnie Belliard.

Valbuena's best year was in 2009 when he put up a line of .250/.298/.416.  He showed some pretty good pop with 10 HRs in just over 300 PAs.  Last year he played AAA ball for the Cleveland Indians, where he hit .302/.372/.476 with 17 HRs.  This spring for Toronto, he was hitting .163 with 2 HRs.

He has shown strike zone discipline in the minors and some pop in his stints in the majors.  Defensively he lacks range and while he's played SS, he's ill-suited to play there for any length of time.

The 6 man bullpen will include Shawn Camp and Lendy Castillo.  I'm assuming that is in addition to locks Marmol, Wood, Russell, and Dolis.

Barring trades current roster will look like this:

C: Geovany Soto,  Steve Clevenger

1B: Bryan LaHair

2B: Darwin Barney, Blake DeWitt,  Luis Valbuena

SS: Starlin Castro

3B: Ian Stewart, Jeff Baker

OF: David DeJesus, Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano, Joe Mather, Reed Johnson

Rotation:  Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Chris Volstad, Paul Maholm

Bullpen: Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, James Russell, Rafael Dolis, Shawn Camp, Lendy Castillo

Meanwhile, Rodrigo Lopez has been told to expect a quick call-up and Tony Campana is in limbo.  Nobody has asked him to leave yet

It remains a possibility that Bryan LaHair could end up on the DL.  If so, Campana will make the Opening Day Roster.

The Cubs officially optioned Frankie De La Cruz, so the roster still stands at 39 even with the signing of Valbuena. The Cubs will still have to make two moves of some sort to create roster  space, so expect a minor deal or two before the day is over.

More to follow as it becomes known...

Filed under: Roster decisions

Tags: Luis Valbuena


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  • What happened with Manny Corpas? I know he had a rough outing against the Dodgers a few days back, but he'd looked pretty good before that.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    It seems he didn't make the cut. Cubs can send him to Iowa, but he has right to refuse and become a free agent.

  • With the addition of Valbuenas, I'm only seeing one roster spot for DeWitt, Mather, and Camp. We're not done wheeling and dealing here.

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    I think there must be some minor deals going on. Will try and find out.

  • so...Lopez is to expect a quick call up, and Campana is in limbo.

    Looks like they are planning on trading at least one, perhaps two position players, before rosters are required to be frozen for tomorrow.

  • In reply to Rob Letterly:

    I just heard Campana is sticking around in case they DL LaHair. I'm definitely expecting a minor deal or two.

  • Thanks for keeping us up to speed, John! I really enjoy the last-minute machinations to get to the 25-man Opening Day roster. On another note, does anyone else remember the days when the question was whether to go with a 9-man pitching staff or a 10-man? I miss those days. There's no need for 11, 12, or 13 pitchers on a 25-man roster. Teams can always bring pitchers up as needed.

  • I do remember those days! Hard to believe. It's unthinkable now to go with anything less than 11.

  • Thanks for keeping us up to speed, John!

  • Your welcome. I think there's more to come!

  • In reply to John Arguello:


  • Logical Explanation: Luis Valbuena was signed to replace Blake DeWitt. DeWitt will replace Chase Utley, as is shipped to Philly in a deal used to buy the rights to Lendy Castillo. Lendy is no longer a rule 5, and can now be sent to the minors to refine his craft. 2 roster spots remain. They are handed to Rodrigo Lopez and Manny Corpas. Mission accomplished.

  • In reply to elusivekarp:

    That is logical. Hopefully that all falls in place for the Cubs. Not sure why the Cubs now have 3 left-handed hitting 2Bs in DeWitt, Valbuena, and Cardenas in the minors.

  • hope you're right on that one.

  • In reply to kylejo:

    Oh...looks like Phils interested in Fontenot now. They could get him for nothing.

  • 7-10 days ago, there was some talk about moving Mateo to the 60 day DL to create a roster spot. Have I missed any updates on the health status of Mateo?

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    You haven't missed it. Nothing like that has been official. In fact, the Cubs have been quiet as to the extent of Mateo's injury.

  • Is it possible that the Phil's are interested in Valbuena? Maybe we claimed him at the request of Philadelphia since they didn't think he would make it all the way to them on waivers. It would not be the first time that the Cubs have leveraged a early draft pick/waiver claim to facilitate a trade.

  • In reply to andyfrain:

    Really interesting theory. It's plausible. Could also be a little gamesmanship knowing our new front office. Maybe Phils prefer to pick up Valbuena off scrap heap then trade a player and the Cubs took that away from them. Now they're stuck with either Fontenot or making a trade, probably with the Cubs.

  • Geez, is Cleveland's AAA stadium a walk-in closet? Those are sick numbers for Valbuena last year. . .

  • In reply to h vaughn:

    LOL! He has had incredible numbers. Not just last year but in the parts of the other seasons he was there too. In about 620 PAs, he's hit about .310 with 26 HRs.

    He's had good numbers in AAA in general. in 810 PAs he has a line of .304/.387/.468.

  • Valbuena was one of the subjects of a legendary on-air rant by Cleveland sportscaster Bruce Drennan. Unfortunately, it's been taken down from just about every spot on the internet I can find it. If you've seen it, you know.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I haven't actually seen it. I'm assuming it has to do with his MLB play, which is nothing like his AAA performances.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That makes me sad. He attacks Valbuena, Russel Branyan, Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner, Matt LaPorta and more, and he does it in the most whiny, melodramatic way you can imagine. I can't even describe it. It was internet gold. This is where it used to reside, if you want to pick up the search anew:

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Looks like MLB got their hands on it...too bad. I'm not sure how I missed it.

  • I like the Valbuena pickup. Valbuena+Cardenas=lack of confidence in Darwin Barney's offensive ability, IMO. Likely, Valbuena replaces DeWitt and gets a chance to replace Barney if/when his OPS is sub-700 at the AS break. Unless Valbuena struggles off bench and Cardenas is tearing it up in Des Moines. Barney, long term, may be utility INF. And DeWitt's days are probably numbered, as Valbuena has more upside and is less of an embarrasment filling in at SS.

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