The LA Angels did not make any splash moves this offseason. So, when they signed Luis Valbuena (formerly of the division rival Houston Astros), is caught Halo fans’ attention. However, he may just be the worst regular starter in recent LA history.
The LA Angels do not have an answer at first base. However, they have young players who deserve at-bats over Luis Valbuena. One of the worst signings of the entire MLB offseason, Valbuena is hitting .181 with six home runs and five doubles. He has struck out 54 times in 57 games, and has 20 walks on the year.
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Valbuena brings next to nothing to this team. He is a below average defender and an abysmal hitter. The Halos hoped he would bring a nice left-handed bat to a righty-heavy lineup, but is only hitting .185 against right-handed pitchers. After being signed to a two-year, 15 million dollar deal, Valbuena has played far below his salary.
While the Angels do not have a great replacement for Valbuena, it would hard for someone to be worse. CJ Cron has been up-and-down between the majors and minors all year, and could be the answer. Over the past few years, Cron has shown flashes of being a solid contributor. In 37 games this year, Cron has an average of .213 with two big flies.
If the Angels were to make Cron their primary first baseman for the rest of the year, he might be able to find a groove, something that is hard to find when constantly switching between the majors and minors. While he has not proven to be significantly better than Valbuena this year, he is a young player with good potential, who just needs some quality at bats.
Luis Valbuena is not the answer at first base. That much is obvious. However, CJ Cron might be, at least until top prospect Matt Thaiss is ready for The Show. Either way, the Angels should be handing at-bats to Cron, not Valbuena for the rest of the season.