11/26/11 7:16 PM EST
Blue Jays acquire infielder Valbuena from Tribe
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
Valbuena, who showed promise a couple of seasons ago with the Tribe, had been designated for assignment on Nov. 18 to clear a spot on Cleveland's 40-man roster. With the move, the Blue Jays now have 40 players on their 40-man roster.
This past season, the 25-year-old Valbuena excelled with Triple-A Columbus, but that success did not carry over to the big leagues. In 17 games with Cleveland, he hit .209 with one home run during a run as a fill-in outfielder for the Indians' injury-riddled roster.
It was a rough showing that followed a disappointing 2010 season, when Valbuena hit .193 with two homers and 24 RBIs in 91 games for Cleveland. That was a considerable drop-off from Valbuena's promising 2009 tour, during which he hit .250 with 10 homers, 25 doubles and 31 RBIs over 103 games.
Valbuena's performance at Triple-A this year is one reason a team like Toronto would take a chance on him. Over 113 games for Columbus, he hit .302 with a .372 on-base percentage, 17 homers, 22 doubles and 75 RBIs.
The left-handed hitter has played in 229 Major League games over four seasons for Seattle (2008), and Cleveland (2009-11), recording a .226 average with 13 home runs and 57 RBIs.
It wasn't immediately clear how Valbuena would fit into the Blue Jays' plans for 2012. Starting second baseman Kelly Johnson was offered arbitration earlier in the week, but is currently a free agent and is expected to receive a multi-year contract on the open market.
Toronto also has a potential opening for a utility player. Former Blue Jay John McDonald recently re-signed with Arizona, perhaps giving Valbuena an opportunity to compete with veteran Mike McCoy for a spot on the bench.