Miami and Toronto are in discussions regarding Marlins infielder/outfielder Jonathan Villar, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. It’s unclear whether the two teams are progressing toward a deal, per Rosenthal, though Jon Heyman of MLB Network writes that Villar’s “definitely out there.”
Villar’s the second shortstop-capable player the Blue Jays have been connected to since the weekend, joining the Angels’ Andrelton Simmons. However, Simmons is not an option right now for Toronto, according to Rosenthal. The club’s in the market for help at the position after losing Bo Bichette to a knee sprain two weeks ago. Even if Bichette comes back this year, Villar’s versatile enough to slide to other positions, including second base and the outfield.
Since Bichette went down, the Blue Jays haven’t received much production from fill-ins Brandon Drury, Joe Panik and Santiago Espinal, but they’re still 18-14 and in the thick of the AL playoff hunt. In Villar, they’d be getting a switch-hitting 29-year-old whose offense has hovered around the league-average mark throughout his career. He’s off to a .272/.328/.360 start with two home runs and nine stolen bases in 126 plate appearances this season.
Villar, who’s on a prorated $8.2MM salary, is a pending free agent, so it may make sense for Miami to at least explore parting with him and other veteran trade chips. But even though the Marlins are just 14-15, they’re very much in the playoff race and will enter Monday tied for the final wild-card spot in the NL.