Jonathan Villar Placed on Waivers
With all the trades that are going on right now in the MLB, there has been a change of direction regarding Jonathan Villar. The seven-year veteran was recently released by the Baltimore Orioles just before his final season was set to begin.
The action comes just days ahead of the non-tender deadline. It also comes prior to Villar’s final season of arbitration eligibility. According to multiple reports, Villar was set to make an estimated $10.4 million dollars in 2020. The 28-year old was undoubtedly the most productive member of the Orioles in 2019 posting a mark of .274/.339/.453. He also posted 24 home runs and 40 stolen bases, making him just the second Oriole with a 20-20 season since 1991.
If the Orioles did not go forward with placing Villar on waivers, he would likely have received an eight-figure income. That would have made him the third-highest paid Oriole in 2020. Now, with the waiver in place, Villar has the option of selecting free agency should no other team come to claim him. That is the prevailing thought by multiple accounts.
Ultimately, this move poses a question of if the Orioles have any intentions of being competitive anytime soon. Villar led all Baltimore position players in WAR in 2019 while playing the full 162 game schedule. That marked the most amount of games played in a single season by Villar across his entire career. He was also one of just five players to play all 162 games in 2019. He also posted career-highs in home runs (24) and RBI (73).
Villar has made several stops throughout his MLB career starting with the Houston Astros for a three-year stint. From there the 28-year old moved on to the Milwaukee Brewers where he played for two years before being dealt to the Orioles in a trade involving Luis Ortiz, Jean Carmona, and Jonathan Schoop amid the 2018 trade deadline.
In his brief year and a half stint with Baltimore, Villar hit .270/.338/.438 with 32 home runs and 61 steals. Villar hit for the cycle while with Baltimore in early August of this year while also touching up with the 6,106th home run of 2019. That mark officially helped set the home run record.
Should Villar not return to the Orioles, they would be left with Hanser Alberto, Richie Martin, and Stevie Wilkerson to fill in. Meanwhile, the Orioles are still having to work through other notable arbitration-eligible players like Trey Mancini, starting pitcher Dylan Bundy and a whole host of relievers.
With all that the Orioles have going on, it should be worrisome to Orioles fans that Villar would be let go without any compensation. Villar will almost certainly elect to be a free agent if no other team claims him. We will see Villar playing in the major leagues in 2020. But not as a member of the Orioles.