At the beginning of the offseason, Orioles general manager Mike Elias expressed a desire to add infield depth at different levels of the organization. Some specific players of interest in that pursuit have emerged.
Baltimore has been in touch with representatives for free agent infielder Jonathan Villar, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. The switch-hitting speedster spent part of 2018 and all of 2019 with the O’s. Villar hit .270/.338/.438 across 950 plate appearances in that time, popping 32 home runs and stealing 61 bases. Baltimore traded him to the Marlins in a salary-slashing move last offseason. The 29-year-old then slumped through a dreadful 2020 season between Miami and the Blue Jays. That’ll depress the first-time free agent’s market, with Villar almost certainly looking at a one-year deal for less than the $8.2MM arbitration salary the Orioles deemed too pricey last year.
A handful of other infielders are also on Baltimore’s radar. The organization has varying levels of interest in Freddy Galvis, Ehire Adrianza and Daniel Robertson, Kubatko adds. Galvis has spent the past six seasons as a regular shortstop for the Phillies, Padres, Blue Jays and Reds. He’s a durable, reliable defender with a bit of power but significant on-base concerns. Adrianza and Robertson have spent most of their MLB careers in utility roles. All four potential targets are capable of playing shortstop. The Orioles have an obvious hole there after trading José Iglesias to the Angels. Additions at second base, on the other hand, don’t seem to be a target. Kubatko notes the team seems “inclined to use” waiver claim Yolmer Sánchez at the keystone.
None of the players mentioned would come at particularly exorbitant costs. Elias downplayed the likelihood of Baltimore making a multi-year free agent splash at the outset of the offseason, and there’s no reason to believe that has changed. However, the Orioles could look to bring in multiple free agent infielders, per Kubatko- one on a single-year MLB contract and another on a minor-league arrangement.