Cubs Sign Infielder Chris Valaika to Minor League Contract

According to a report from Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs signed infielder Chris Valaika to a minor league contract that includes a non-roster invitation to Major League Spring Training.

Chris Valaika spent last season in the Marlins system and played in 22 games at the big league level for Miami.

The 28-year old Chris Valaika broke into the majors with the Reds in 2010 after Cincinnati selected him in the third round of the 2006 draft. Valaika hit .280/.333/.400 with a double and a triple in 14 games for the Reds in 2011.

Valaika played in just 88 games in the Reds system in 2012 and hit .219/.265/.349 with 14 doubles, two triples and seven home runs. At Triple-A Louisville, Valaika put together a .223/.268/.347 slash line in 2012.

Chris Valaika hit .219/.261/.344 with five doubles and one home run in 22 games for the Marlins last season. Valaika can play shortstop and second base and prior to the 2010 season, Baseball America ranked Valaika as the 12th best prospect in a stacked Reds’ system.

Chris Valaika’s agent, Joel Wolfe, told Ken Rosenthal that Valaika is “very excited to be with a first-class organization.”

Chris Valaika’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Chris Valaika joins outfielder Aaron Cunningham and catcher Eli Whiteside as players that have signed minor league contracts with the Cubs this winter with non-roster invites to big league camp.

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  • Ripsnorter1

    This is the reason Donnie Murphy will be non-tendered.
    Theo is trying to win a pennant, and Murphy is to be cut for this guy.

    • Tony_Hall

      Yeah, that is the reason.

  • Cubtex

    Valaika was one of the players who Tino Martinez had a problem with when he was hitting coach for the Marlins. Tino eventually resigned saying he cannot work with some of the attitudes from “today’s” players.

    • Tony_Hall

      A source confirmed Martinez for months had been at odds with several players and staff members, including manager Mike Redmond. It recently came to Redmond’s attention that Martinez engaged rookie Derek Dietrich in an inappropriate physical manner less than a week after his arrival in the big leagues.

      Martinez denied reports that he put his hands around Dietrich’s neck, saying his grabbed his jersey. The incident was serious enough that the Major League Baseball Players’ Association was made aware of it well after the fact.

      A stunned Dietrich, who was optioned to Double-A Jacksonville last week, was at a loss about how to handle the situation. He chose to keep quiet and somehow produced despite unimaginable duress. Dietrich ultimately relayed the story to Redmond. One other person witnessed what happened in the batting cage and corroborated Dietrich’s account.

      “I want to say that I never physically touched anyone by the neck,” said Martinez, who apologized for his behavior. “That never happened. I have made some comments to certain players at certain times that I thought were more constructive criticism on separate occasions. Obviously they didn’t feel that way and it kind of backfired on me.

      “I just thought with some young players you needed to be a little firmer and try to get them on the right track, but obviously I made a mistake and I apoligize for that to the Marlins organization, my family and everyone involved.”

      • cubtex

        I played against Tino in college while he was at the University of Tampa. He was extremely intense and a no nonsense type of guy. I can see how a 27 year old journeyman like Valaika would get under his skin.

        • Tony_Hall

          Absolutely. Also why ex-players especially of his caliber should have some minor league coaching experience first before going to the majors. It may not be a fit, they may not like it and it won’t be as public of an exit if it doesn’t work. It is too bad for Tino that this will be something he is remembered for in baseball.

          • paulcatanese