Cubs keep adding, sign veteran infielder Jonathan Villar
Spring Training is finally underway, and the 2022 regular season will be here before we know it. Since the end of MLB’s lockout of the players, teams have been scrambling to tie up loose ends and sign free agents left on the market. The Chicago Cubs, in particular, are among the teams that have made a plethora of moves to contend in 2022.
The most recent of these moves is the singing of versatile veteran Jonathan Villar. According to Fansided’s own Robert Murray, the Cubs have agreed on a one-year contract worth $6 million, including a mutual option for 2023 and performance bonuses, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.
Chicago Cubs sign Jonathan Villar to a one-year, $6 million deal
Though Villar was previously in talks with the Blue Jays, those fizzled out as Toronto took part in a blockbuster trade with the Oakland A’s for Matt Champman. However, the 30-year-old Villar bounced back following a rough 2020 campaign.
During his time with the Mets in 2021, he slashed .249/.322/.416 with 18 homers, 18 doubles and two triples. He played second base, third base and shortstop with the Mets and proved himself a valuable commodity. Before his tenure with New York, Villar was also a solid contender with the Orioles, where he slashed .274/.339/.453.
Despite improvement following 2020, that season still put a damper on his value in free agency. However, the fact that he has improved since is worth something. Though he is best suited to play second and third, Villar can also play short, enormously benefiting an uncertain Chicago infield.
As far as second base goes, a trade acquisition from the crosstown White Sox, Nick Madrigal, is expected to step up as the team’s starting second baseman. At third base, the Cubs have Patrick Wisdom, who is coming off an incredible 2021 campaign. It will be interesting to see what 2022 brings for him.
Last week, the Cubs signed veteran Andrelton Simmons to take over at shortstop. Besides Villar, Chicago also has Nico Hoerner adding to their infield depth. One advantage Villar has is that he is a switch-hitter. This will provide David Ross with more flexibility since the rest of the infield is full of right-handers.
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Across his nine-year career, Villar has played with six clubs, making Chicago his seventh. His versatility will be advantageous for Chicago, considering he is a switch hitter who can play multiple defensive positions. It will be interesting which position he plays the most and where Ross decides to use him going forward.