When Ian Stewart hit the disabled list last season, the Chicago Cubs were without a full-time third baseman. They called up a minor leaguer with some experience but hardly any pedigree, and he filled in nicely. Now that minor leaguer, Luis Valbuena, is avoiding Major League arbitration with a one-year contract.
Valbuena and the Cubs have agreed to a one-year, $930,000 deal to avoid salary arbitration, says Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago. Valbuena is in his first year of arbitration-eligibilty as a Super-2 candidate. He made just under $500,000 last season, so he is doubling his salary in 2013.
Stewart suffered a wrist injury last season and eventually underwent surgery. He missed the rest of the season after playing in just 55 games. Valbuena was called up to replace him and performed nicely enough to earn a decent raise ahead of arbitration.
Valbuena played in 90 games last year. He hit .219/.310/.340. While he did not light the world on fire, he was able to fill the void. The Cubs, who still have Stewart under team control, will likely use Valbuena as a platoon player and a guy who can fill in when there are injuries.
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