Yankees Rumors: NY Discussing Deal with Luis Valbuena
The New York Yankees are one of several teams discussing a deal with free agent infielder Luis Valbuena according to his agent.
When speaking to agent Steve Schneider, who represents former Houston Astros third baseman Luis Valbuena among others, via phone on Monday Joel Sherman of the New York Post confirmed that the New York Yankees are one of several MLB clubs in “ongoing” negotiations to acquire the veteran infielder at the Winter Meetings.
It isn’t clear how serious the Yankees interest is at this stage, as Sherman reports that the team found the initial asking price for Valbuena “too high” according to sources familiar with the talks.
In addition, Valbuena is rightly looking for an everyday gig after a strong 2016 campaign in which he hit .260/.357/.459 (124 OPS+) with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances, although it should be noted that he missed the final two months of the season with a hamstring injury. He underwent successful surgery to repair the issue in late-August and the issue is not expected to impact his 2017 campaign.
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At the moment, the Yankees are unable to offer Valbuena a regular spot in their infield, but if the team is able to move Chase Headley this winter, that could certainly change. According to multiple sources, New York has been shopping their incumbent third baseman and the $26 million owed to him over the next two seasons, but have yet to find a team with more than mild interest in his services.
Valbuena’s versatility at least leaves the possibility open that New York could offer him everyday at-bats while using him in a super-utility role similar to how Ben Zobrist has been used in recent years by the Cubs and Rays. The 31-year-old has been used at first, second, third, and left field for Houston over the last few years.
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Even with the addition of Matt Holliday, on Sunday I think it makes sense for the club to look for an additional veteran power bat with some positional flexibility to provide a backup plan in case Aaron Judge and/or Greg Bird get hurt or struggle in spring training. With Steve Pearce now off the board, Valbuena may be the best available option.