Baltimore Orioles Place Jonathan Villar On Waivers
By Nick Stevens
The Baltimore Orioles have placed Jonathan Villar on waivers.
It might actually be happening. Just hours after MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported that a trade involving Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Dylan Bundy might be close and that the organization has been unsuccessful in their attempts to trade Jonathan Villar, the Orioles made a move with their switch-hitting infielder.
According to MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko, the Orioles have placed Villar on waivers ahead of the December 2nd deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players.
The possibility of this move happening has been discussed for weeks now. With his projected salary of $10.4 million upcoming in arbitration, according to MLBTradeRumors.com projections, the Orioles have elected to pass on paying up for their 4.0 fWAR infielder, the highest WAR total for anyone on the 2019 Baltimore Orioles roster.
The seven-year MLB veteran had a career-year at the plate, slashing .274/.339/.453 with 24 home runs, 73 RBI, 33 doubles, and five triples. He also swiped 40 bags, the most in a single season for Villar since he led the league with 62 back in 2016 with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Here’s a breakdown of this means from The Athletic’s Dan Connolly.
If Villar doesn’t return to the roster next season, it would leave the Orioles with Hanser Alberto, Richie Martin, and Pat Valaika as the only middle infielders currently on the 40-man roster. They recently signed two middle infielders to minor league deals on Tuesday afternoon, including Malquin Canelo and Angelo Mora. If you haven’t heard about them before now, I hadn’t either.
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Both are in their mid-20s and have experience at the Triple-A level but no major league experience.
The team is still reportedly in the market for veteran middle infield help and with the likes of Yolmer Sanchez, Jose Iglesias, and others on the free agent market, ideally the Orioles pounce on someone with major league experience.
I get not wanting to pay Jonathan Villar north of $10 million for one season, but as a fan who wants to see this team improve and win ballgames, I strongly disagree with this move. With not much on the payroll outside of Chris Davis and his monster contract, it seems difficult to justify not wanting to pony up a few extra million for one of the best overall performers on your roster.
If you thought 2019 was a long, rough season in Birdland, just wait for 2020.