MLB Postseason: Former Cubs IF Luis Valbuena key for Astros


The deal that sent Luis Valbuena to the Astros and brought Dexter Fowler to Chicago has paid off for both teams, evidenced by their postseason berths.

Last offseason, most of the attention (probably rightfully so) – focused on the Cubs’ acquisitions of Jon Lester and skipper Joe Maddon. One of the more under-the-radar moves the front office made brought Fowler to the Windy City, setting the stage for a revival of sorts.

Fowler will likely fetch good money on the open market this winter after the postseason dust settles after a solid year on the North Side, in which he appeared in all but six games, batting .250/.346/.411 while serving as a mentor for the team’s young players.

He also added 20 stolen bases for Chicago, the most in a single-season for the veteran since back in 2009 with Colorado, when he swiped 29 bags. That speed element has been missing in the Cubs’ lineup in recent years, and Fowler seemed to use it effectively throughout the regular season.

But as good as Fowler has been for the Cubs, what’s more intriguing is the role that former Chicago third baseman Luis Valbuena has played for the Astros, one of the two wild card teams in the American League.

Squaring off against the New York Yankees tonight in the AL Wild Card game, Valbuena is batting seventh and playing third base for Houston after a regular season campaign that saw him launch a career-high 25 homers – which tied with Colby Rasmus for second-highest mark on the team, trailing only Evan Gattis.

As we saw in Chicago last year, Valbuena doesn’t hit for a high average. And, for the Astros, that seemed to work just fine this season. The 29-year-old Venezuelan native batted under .230 and barely kept his OBP above .300, but the home run-prone Houston offense made up for that, narrowly missing out on their first division title in years.

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It seems like, more often than not, when we look back on trades it seems like one side comes out on top. In this instance, though, both sides got what they needed.

Houston got a serviceable corner infielder who has decent ‘pop’ in his bat and the Cubs got Fowler, who has emerged as a key piece for a team that is back in the postseason for the first time since 2008.

So with a former Cubs player set to take center stage with his teammates in New York tonight, we here at Cubbies Crib wish him the best – who knows, maybe we’ll see him again in a fateful World Series matchup later this month.

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