What do the Baltimore Orioles do with Jonathan Villar and Richie Martin?
- Will the Orioles offer Jonathan Villar arbitration?
This question should be an easy one to answer, but it isn’t. Villar made a serious case for Most Valuable Oriole in 2019 and is coming off a 4.0 fWAR season, but he is projected to earn a significant raise in arbitration and make around $10 million (MLB Trade Rumors projection). Will that number cause the Baltimore Orioles to make a move?
Mancini may be the biggest trade chip for Elias and the Orioles, but Villar is the likeliest to be traded. A deal wasn’t made at the deadline, but his hot second half may have boosted his trade value enough to swing a deal. Trading Villar makes sense and we know Elias won’t complete a deal just to complete a deal, it has to make the organization better.
If a trade can’t be made this offseason, bringing Villar back will be a welcomed sight. There’s talk of non-tendering him, which makes little sense. If Villar walks away, who plays up the middle? Hanser Alberto is better suited for second base and Richie Martin could begin the season in the minors. Outside of Chris Davis, the Orioles have very little on the books, making Villar’s projected $10 million salary a non-issue. If you can’t trade him, pay him and bring him back.
- Will Richie Martin play more games next season in the majors or minors?
Speaking of Richie Martin, it all depends on how the organization views Martin’s potential. If Martin is a stop-gap option or the Orioles view him as a glove off the bench, Martin stays and continues his development in the major leagues. If the organization believes he can be a legitimate starting shortstop in the major leagues, it makes perfect sense to send him to Double-A or Triple-A to work on his game there.
Martin hit .166 with a 32% strikeout rate and a wRC+ of 30 before the All-Star break, but hit .284 with an 18% strikeout rate and wRC+ of 87 after the break. He was still a below-league average player during the second half of the season, but the improvements were notable.
The shortstop prospects of note are still just teenagers and many years away from the major leagues. Give Richie Martin a year down on the farm and give him another opportunity in 2021.
- Will the Orioles sign any free agent to longer than a one-year deal?
No. Let’s just hope the quality of player is better than Nate Karns.